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Room One: A Mystery or Two Hardcover – July 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–Red Prairie Learning Center has only 10 students and is facing possible closing unless more families move to the small Nebraska town. Ted, the only sixth grader, loves mysteries, so when he sees a girl's face at the window of a supposedly abandoned farmhouse, he decides to investigate. He meets April, who tells him that ever since her dad died in Iraq, someone has been stalking their family. She and her mother and younger brother were heading for a relative's place out west when their car broke down. Now they are stranded and are worried about who might be following them. Ted pledges not to turn the family in and agrees to bring them food and supplies. In all the mystery stories that he has read, young detectives don't need interfering grown-ups. However, this is real life, and he begins to wonder if he can handle the situation on his own. But whom can he trust–and what about his promise to keep the fugitives' secret? The story explores the potential conflict between promises and duty. There is a good balance of seriousness and humor with brisk, realistic dialogue and observations. Small black-and-white illustrations emphasize key points in the plot. Clements's usual excellent sense of character is evident. Both adults and young people are multidimensional, with true-to-life emotions and concerns. There is also a strong message about responsibility and individual courage. The conclusion is unexpected but satisfying, as both the lost family and the struggling town find hope for the future.–Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. In a one-room school in a small Nebraska town, Ted is the lone sixth-grader sandwiched between four fourth-graders and four eighth-graders. Besides doing his chores on the family farm, he delivers newspapers, attends 4-H Club meetings, and enjoys reading mystery books. Riding his paper route one morning, Ted spies a girl's face in the window of an abandoned farmhouse. He puts his detective skills to the test as he tries to discover who she is, why she is there, and how he can help her. Though the mystery element in the plot is relatively mild, the story is strong enough that readers will want to find out what will become of Ted's vulnerable new friend. When she entrusts him with a secret, he must decide how best to honor that trust while helping solve her family's dilemma. The convincing, contemporary rural setting is an inextricable element of the novel, which is illustrated with small black-and-white sketches that enhance the refreshingly innocent tone of the story. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689866860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689866869
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,210,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Most of my characters are fairly normal people who are dealing with the basics of everyday life--getting along with others, finding a place in the world, discovering talents, overcoming challenges, trying to have some wholesome fun along the way, and getting into some scrapes and a little mischief now and then, too. I guess I hope my readers will be able to see bits and pieces of themselves in the stories, particularly the novels that take place in and around school. School is a rich setting because schools and education are at the heart of every community. The stories that are set in school seem to resonate with kids, teachers, parents, librarians--readers of all ages. Everyone's life has been touched by school experiences. And I also hope, of course, that kids and others will enjoy reading, enjoy the use of language, enjoy my storytelling.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader VINE VOICE on February 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ted Hammond is one of only nine students in his one room school and the only 6th grader in Plattsford, Nebraska. The farming community is shrinking and the school is going to close because of the small enrollment. The loss of the school will be the final blow to the town.

Ted loves to read mysteries and the town librarian Mrs. Coughlin has introduced him to interlibrary loan. He reads 2-3 mysteries a week and excels at solving them before the last chapter.

One morning while delivering newspapers he think he sees a face in the window of an abandoned farmhouse on his route. Using the detective skills he has learned, Ted sets out to solve the mystery. While assembling clues, he discovers a family camping in the old house. Alexa a girl about his age asks him to keep her family's presence in the house a secret. He reluctantly agrees then devotes himself to their welfare by bringing them food.

Clements always writes with amazing candor and feeling about the adults in children's lives. He is clear eyed about the sometimes edgy relationship between teachers and their students. Ted confides in his teacher, Mrs. Mitchell about the family which puts her into an ethical dilemma. She does not want to break a promise to a student but she knows she must report the family.

This low key 162 page story is rounded out by an epilogue that tells "the rest of the story" in a conclusion that is very satisfying for the family and Ted's town.

There is much about Andrew Clements that impresses me. His website quotes him, "It is a privilege to write for children."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book because it was a mystery and mysteries are my favorite books to read. I also liked it because it is by my favorite author, Andrew Clements. I think this book was one of his best because the boy tries to help people.

There's a boy named Ted and he delivers the newspaper to people. While he was delivering the papers he sees this girl in a window in a house that's been abandoned for about two years. So he goes to investigate the next day and he doesn't see any movement until he gets outside where the girl is waiting for him. What happens next? Read the book to find out.

I recommend this book to anyone because it's an outstanding book. I think anyone who likes Andrew Clements should read this book at least once.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jordan K. Henrichs on September 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
So it's time for silent reading in my fifth grade class and my students LOVE silent reading time. Most of them can't get enough of the books they're reading and can't wait to talk about them. But there's always the few who spend the entire silent reading time in the school library or at my personal library or trying to sneak away to the bathroom. They spend more time fidgeting than they do reading. How do you get those children to read? Well, one thing I have found that works is to put an Andrew Clements book in their hands.

Clements' books are simple and readable and according to most of my fifth graders, cool. Frindle, The Landry News, and Lunch Money are not filled with elementary student clichés. The characters aren't cheesy and my students don't find themselves saying "Come on, we're not like that" as is the case with many other books written for them. Clements' characters act and talk like real elementary students and are usually faced with real problems and this is an important part of his appeal. Room One is no exception.

One day while sixth grader Ted Hammond is delivering papers, he notices a mysterious face in an upstairs window of an old home, the Anderson's home. What spikes Ted's curiosity is that no one has lived in the Anderson house for two years. The house has sat empty and the windows have been boarded up. With nothing else going on in his small rural Nebraska town of Plattsford, Ted sets out to investigate.

I liked this book. I really did. It doesn't matter that I picked it up half-wanting, half-expecting a good mystery and didn't get one. Clements made me care about Ted, and April, and her family, and Mrs.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By George Buttner VINE VOICE on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Room One: A Mystery or Two" is about a sixth-grade boy named Ted who loves nothing more than a good mystery. He attends school in a one-room schoolhouse in Nebraska and lately there have been a couple of big mysteries in town. With everyone moving away --- how is the school going to survive? And how will the farm that Ted lives on survive if the town becomes dead? But when Ted spots the face of a girl in an abandoned farmhouse, suddenly he has a real mystery to solve.

"Room One: A Mystery or Two" has some important things to say about current issues. It's also a nice story of kindness and caring.

At the end of the book, there's a note from Andrew Clements revealing some of the real-life sources from which he drew this book. The real-life connection helps to lend an authenticity to this story.

For me, "Room One: A Mystery or Two" was a good story, but perhaps not as great as some of Clements past stories. It's about a boy who doesn't really have any close friends, whereas in many of Clements' past books, the characters have had strong ties of friendship. I also enjoyed some of the humor in some of the past books, but there wasn't a great amount of it in this book. Still, this is another reasonably decent Andrew Clements story.
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