Sunday, June 3, 2007

Room One
by Andrew Clements
illustrations by Chris Blair

Ted Hammond is the only sixth grader in Plattsford, Nebraska. His class meets in Room One; the only room that's used in his school. There are nine students in his class, and one teacher for every grade. With the teacher focused on preparing the eighth graders for high school and keeping the fourth graders in line, Ted gets to focus on what he likes for most of the school day.

Ted loves to read mysteries. He closes the book at exactly the middle point, writes down what he knows, and predicts who did it. Most of the time, Ted is right.

As he delivers everyone in Plattsford's newspapers, Ted thinks he knows everyone in the farm town of 108. But one morning, he sees a girl's face in the window of an abandoned house. Ted knows he has found a mystery; and he believes that he is just the person to solve the case.

This is a nice, fairly quick mystery that should appeal to many middle grade readers. While the one room school house is not a familiar experience for most readers, Clements sets the scene well and presents a likable, relatable character in Ted.