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Room One: A Mystery or Two Paperback – May 20, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5–Ted Hammond is the only sixth grader at a one-room school in a small Nebraska town in this novel by Andrew Clements (S & S, 2006). The town is facing a financial crisis and hence a shrinking population. When Ted sees a girl's face in the window of one of the abandoned houses on his paper route, he can't resist investigating this mystery as he is an avid reader of detective novels and tries to solve each crime halfway through the book. This real-life mystery proves a little more difficult as Ted struggles with keeping a family's secret and knowing when to ask for help from adults. Narrator Keith Nobbs gives the story a youthful but wise voice, adding just the right touch of emotion and humor. He uses his voice to distinguish between the various characters, and appropriately portrays Ted's compassion and confusion as he grapples with his secret and his town's (and thus his own) unstable future. Clements's characteristic style of blending comedy with drama makes this an honest and pertinent story for readers who like realism and a touch of mystery.–April Mazza, Wayland Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 840 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689866879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689866876
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Centered on a very engaging sixth grader, this book seems aimed at about the third or fourth grade level. It isn't really a mystery, but is more about promises, duty and responsibility. The setting is realistic, dialogue is sound, motivations and actions make sense. The overall effect is low key and rather mild, but I would think it would be very satisfying for a younger reader.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition
I hate writing bad reviews. Really. But I just wanna keep it short. So, to start off, what can I say... It wasn't a mystery. I've made up mysteries that make more sense than this daresay myster. One, April. April sucks. There is no character development with her and she is not a likeable character. The attempted focus on her overloaded the hardrive, and it wasn't even possible that she wasn't a ghost. I would have liked it more if she was a ghost, so Ted could solve the mystery of the past. By making her alive with flesh completely blew the mystery out of the water and trashed the story. This part needs to be done over. Sorry. The entire BOOK needs to be done over so the ghost mystery could spark imagination. Seriously. It was a HUGE dissapointment on April's part.

Next, we have the so-called second mystery. The second mystery is... hey, where'd it go? Beats me. I wonder what happened to it? It was never there in the first place, dude. I thought he was supposed to be trying to figure out how it would be open next year. It says that on the blurb. However, neither mysteries are related like he said. Not related at all. And it's not there anyway. So that was pointless. And like I said, the facts are not related. I swear. A homeless girl has nothing to do with a five student school.

Clements better consider what I wrote and do it over. It shoul be a landfill book.
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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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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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