Wednesday 30 November 2022

Room One A Mystery or Two - Andrew Clements

Room One A Mystery or Two 
Andrew Clements
ISBN 9780689866876
eISBN 9781442462250

Six years ago, I discovered the works of Andrew Clements. I was instantly hooked and have now read 20 books by him. Many consider him the ‘master of school stories’, and I would agree. I have a dual form of dyslexia and did not learn to read until after grade 7. So I never read ‘school stories’ when I was young. That combined with having my own school aged children has instilled a great appreciation for the genre and specifically for the works of Andrew Clements. Clements passed away in 2019 his last novel was The Friendship War, which is an excellent volume. Around the time I discovered Clements works I also encountered Chris d’Lacey both write amazing stories for children, but they are also stories that any of us can learn from. Back then I set the goal of reading all of their works, but as my own children have grown these books had slid by the way side. I have now returned to them yet again. This story has inspired me to recommit to that goal.

I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. I grabbed it based on the author and title alone. The cover grabbed my interest as well. It was an interesting read and one of my favorites of all his books I have read. It is an excellent read. The description of the book states:

“Ted Hammond learns that in a very small town, there's no such thing as an isolated event. And the solution of one mystery is often the beginning of another.

Ted Hammond loves a good mystery, and in the spring of his fifth-grade year, he's working on a big one. How can his school in the little town of Plattsford stay open next year if there are going to be only five students? Out here on the Great Plains in western Nebraska, everyone understands that if you lose the school, you lose the town.

     But the mystery that has Ted's full attention at the moment is about that face, the face he sees in the upper window of the Andersons' house as he rides past on his paper route. The Andersons moved away two years ago, and their old farmhouse is empty, boarded up tight. At least it's supposed to be.

     A shrinking school in a dying town. A face in the window of an empty house. At first these facts don't seem to be related. But...”

Ted is a good kid, and he is trying to do the right thing. The importance and weight of promises plans a key role in this story. For example:

“Ted had reached the kitchen porch. He pushed all the fears out of his mind and pulled himself back to reality. Because whatever else was going on at this house, he’d made a promise. He had promised a girl that he’d bring her some food. And he was going to keep that promise.”

“Ted thought, I can’t lie to Mrs. Mitchell. But I promised I wouldn’t tell. I promised. I have to keep my promise.
And in the stress of the moment, with the dusty tennis racket in mid-swing, Ted saw what a powerful grip a promise can have.
And not just on him. A promise can grab hold of anyone.
Even a teacher.”

“She reached out quickly and took both his hands in hers, and when he tried to pull away, she held on. “Ted, listen to me. I’m so sorry. But you have to hear this. I started feeling like I had to do something last night. Even though I promised you I wouldn’t tell anyone. But I wanted to talk to you first. So I didn’t do anything, and I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my husband.””

It is also the story of a town on the verge of collapse rising to the challenge to help strangers in need. It was very interesting watching Ted as he worked through the questions, concerns and desire to help and do the right thing. He soon realizes he cant do it all on his own so he comes up with a plan to get help to provide help.

This is another excellent offering from the pen of Andrew Clements, it is a great Middle Grade read. A fantastic book for young readers, and for those of us who just love a great story!

Books by Andrew Clements:
Bird Adalbert
Noah and the Ark and the Animals
Santa's Secret Helper
Temple Cat
Mother Earth's Counting Book
Billy and the Bad Teacher
Who Owns the Cow
Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers
(Adapter)Philipp's Birthday Book
Riff's BeBop Book
Real Monsters Go for the Mold
Things That Go EEK on Halloween
Real Monsters Stage Fright
Music Time, Any Time
Double Trouble in Walla Walla
Gromble's Haunted Halloween
Hey Dad, Could I Borrow Your Hammer
The Landry News
Look Who's in the Thanksgiving Play
The Mouse Family
The Janitor's Boy
Circus Family Dog
The Christmas Kitten
The School Story
Things Not Seen 
The Jacket 
A Week in the Woods
Slippers at Home
Naptime for Slippers
The Report Card
The Last Holiday Concert
Slippers at School
Slippers Loves to Run
A Million Is a Lot of Dots
Lunch Money
Things Hoped For
Room One: A Mystery or Two
No Talking
Things That Are
Lost and Found
Extra Credit
About Average
The Map Trap
The Friendship War
The Losers Club

Pets to the Rescue Series
Ringo Saves the Day!
Brave Norman
Tara and Tiree, Fearless Friends
Delores and the Big Fire

Jake Drake Series
Jake Drake Know-It-All
Jake Drake, Bully Buster
Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet
Jake Drake, Class Clown

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School Series
We the Children
Fear Itself
The Whites of Their Eyes
In Harm's Way
We Hold These Truths

Reading Program Books
Karen's Island
Three Wishes for Buster
Bill Picket: An American Original, Texas Style
Hurricane Andrew
Ham and Eggs for Jack
Life in the Desert
Desert Treasure
Inventors: Making Things Better, Steck-Vaughn
Milo's Great Invention

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