Room One: A Mystery or Two

( 46 )

Overview

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...

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Overview

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 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nobbs does a fine job of portraying aspiring detective Ted Hammond, a fifth-grader who wishes he could solve the mystery of what will become of his family's farm and his one-room schoolhouse as his tiny Nebraska town struggles through tough times. But before he resolves his own situation, a new mystery captures Ted's attention when he sees young April Thayer in the window of the supposedly deserted Anderson house. The chance sighting begins Ted's journey of self-discovery and sparks a town's awakening to the needs of others. Listeners will hear, in Nobbs' voice, Ted's uncertainty, his concern and even anger as he tries to help a family in need while deciding which promises he should keep and which ones he shouldn't. Nobb also ably handles a variety of other voices, including April's Southern twang, drawing listeners in to a story that demonstrates Clements's talent for speaking convincingly to the minds and hearts of middle-graders. Ages 8-12. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Andrew Clements has done it again. Readers of Frindle and The Landry News have come to expect Clements' cast of believable, loveable characters and a plot line that takes some unusual twists and turns. Clements always gives the reader ideas to mull over long after the last page is read. The Room One referred to in this book, is the one room school in a small town in western Nebraska where Ted Hammond is the only sixth grader in a classroom of nine students. He loves to read mysteries and has the public librarian ordering new ones each week for him. His favorite game is to read only half the mystery and then write down how he thinks the story will end. When he has written down his guess, he reads the second half to see if he has correctly solved the mystery. When a mysterious girl appears at the window of an abandoned house on his paper route, Ted is determined to solve this real life mystery. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to figure out as his library mysteries. Things get complicated when he meets the new occupants of the dilapidated house. The book is punctuated with small black-and-white illustrations. Some of the drawings are carefully planned and have lots of nice details, but others look quickly executed without much skill. 2006, Simon & Schuster Books for young Readers, Ages 8 to 12.
—Sally J. K. Davies
School Library Journal
Gr 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 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-grader Ted Hammond, who loves a good mystery, finds one in real life when he sees a face in the window of an abandoned farmhouse while on his paper route. Befriending the homeless family of a fallen Iraq War soldier he discovers hiding there has surprising consequences, including helping his one-room school stay open. This engaging middle-grade mystery is nicely up-to-date but set in a kinder, gentler and rapidly disappearing world. Not only is Ted responsible about delivering papers on his bicycle every morning and doing his farm chores in the afternoon, he was a Boy Scout until the scoutmaster moved away, and he takes his Scout Law seriously. Like the boy, his Plattsburg, Neb., community is genuinely generous, willing to open their arms and pocketbooks to welcome the family. Once again, Clements offers readers an intelligent protagonist, trustworthy adults, an interesting school situation and a real-life problem in a story that moves swiftly enough even for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781428108929
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/15/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he has been nominated for a multitude of state awards, including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He is also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children. Visit him at AndrewClements.com.

Keith Nobbs has appeared on Broadway in The Lion In Winter and off-Broadway in Dog Sees God, Romance, The Hasty Heart, Bye Bye Birdie, Dublin Carol, and Four (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk Nomination). His film credits include Phone Booth, Double Whammy, and 25th Hour. Television credits include The Black Donnellys (series regular), Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and The Sopranos.

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Read an Excerpt

Room One

A Mystery or Two
By Andrew Clements

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2006 Andrew Clements
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689866860

Chapter One

May

Ted Hammond huffed and puffed as he pedaled up the small hill on the road back into town. Every morning he rode his bike to the junction of Route 92 and County Road 7 and picked up a bundle of the Omaha World-Tribune. And between seven thirty and eight thirty, rain or shine, summer or winter, Ted delivered the news.

The newspapers in his canvas shoulder bag felt like they weighed a hundred pounds. That's because it was Tuesday, and that meant he had an extra bundle of the county paper, the Weekly Observer. But at least there wasn't any snow or rain or hot dust blowing into his face.

May was Ted's favorite month for bike riding. Not too hot, not too cold. He loved October, too. But with May, summer wasn't far off, and summer meant no school. So May was the best.

It wasn't like Ted made a lot of money delivering papers, but in Plattsford, Nebraska, any job was a great job. Even during its high point in the 1920s, Plattsford had been a small town, not much more than a speck on the Great Plains of west central Nebraska. And for years and years the population had been shrinking.

But that didn't bother Ted. He liked the leftovers, the people who were stillaround. And when the Otis family had moved away? Didn't bother Ted a bit. He had delivered papers to them for two and a half years, and they'd never given him a tip, not even a dime -- not even at Christmas. Plus Albert Otis had been a dirty rotten bully. Good riddance.

Ted could ride up and down the streets and know who lived in every house -- well, nearly. He didn't personally know all 108 people who lived in Plattsford, because the whole township covered thirty-six square miles. But the in-town part, the part where he had most of his paper route, that was only about forty houses, and he'd knocked on almost every door looking for new subscriptions or collecting money from his customers. His last stop every day was Clara's Diner, right on Main Street, and a homemade doughnut and a glass of milk was always waiting for him on the end of the counter.

With a last burst of effort, Ted got his bike over the crest of the hill, and then he was coasting down the other side, the early sun bright on his face. Bluebirds singing along the fence row, the waving grass beginning to green up, the faded red paint on the Andersons' barn -- Ted pulled it all into his eyes and ears, and then into his heart. He loved this place, his own peaceful corner of the world.

And when Ted happened to see a face in an upstairs window of the Andersons' house, he wanted to smile and wave and shout, "Hey! Beautiful day, huh?" But he didn't. And there was a good reason for that. The Andersons had moved away almost two years ago, and the old farmhouse was empty, boarded up tight.

At least, it was supposed to be.

Text copyright 2006 by Andrew Clements



Continues...


Excerpted from Room One by Andrew Clements Copyright © 2006 by Andrew Clements. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Introduction

Discussion Topics

What do the opening pages of the novel tell readers about Ted's daily routine, his town, and his feelings about both? What is different about the morning on which the story begins?

Describe the Red Prairie Learning Center. How is it similar to, or different from, your school? Would you like to go to school in Plattsford? Why or why not?

How does Ted's love of mysteries affect his investigation of the face in the farmhouse window? Was he correct in going to the farmhouse alone?

How have April and her family come to be hiding in the farmhouse? Do you think April is making a good choice to hide there? Explain your answer.

How does being a Boy Scout affect Ted's actions? Given the situation, can Ted act honestly toward everyone — April, his family, Ruby Cantrell at the E&A Market, Mrs. Mitchell — at the same time? Have you ever found that keeping a secret for one person required you to behave dishonestly toward another? How did this make you feel? How did you solve your dilemma?

How has Mrs. Mitchell made her small schoolhouse situation work? What are he concerns for the Red Prairie Learning Center's future? How does Mrs. Mitchell's home life affect her concerns? Compare Mrs. Mitchell's situation to Mr. Hammond's outlook for his farm. What similarities or differences do you note?

Why does Ted tell his secret to Mrs. Mitchell? How does she feel about keeping Ted's confidence? What does she do? How does Ted feel about her actions?

What happens when Ted discovers April's family gone from the Anderson farmhouse? What was Deputy Linwood really investigating? What does this confusion suggest about keeping secrets? Where does Ted findApril?

What does Ted decide is the best way to help April and her family? To whom does he reach out for help? What effects do his actions have upon his town?

Is Ted ultimately able to help April? How do the efforts of his town ultimately help others? How does this, in turn, help Plattsford?

Describe ways in which your school, religious, or civic groups reach out to others. Have you ever participated in such efforts? How did this make you feel? Why is it important for communities to offer help to those in need?

Imagine you are Ted as a senior in high school. Looking back, how might you describe your Room One mystery experience? What is the most important thing you learned?

Activities and Research

Write a letter to Ted recommending a mystery novel. Explain why you think he will enjoy the book and whether or not you think he can solve the case before the final page. If desired, share your recommendation with friends or classmates.

Create a class survey about jobs. How many students have jobs? Do students plan to get jobs and at what age? What jobs would they like to try? How many students have daily chores at home? How many receive allowances? Compile the results of your survey into a short report, including graphs or tables.

On a two-columned chart, compare Ted's school to your own. Consider the building, class size, daily routines and other observations. In small groups, research different ways kids are educated, from public schools to homeschooling. Use your research for a classroom debate on the best types of learning settings.

In the character of April, write a series of journal entries describing: how you feel when you spot Ted through the window; why you decide to tell Ted your story; your feelings about losing your dad in the war; your concerns about your mother; your feelings just before leaving Plattsford.

In the character of Mrs. Mitchell, list the pros and cons of keeping Ted's secret. Discuss your list with friends or classmates. Vote to see whether most kids agree or disagree with Mrs. Mitchell's actions. Ask students to explain their votes.

Go online to learn more about the Boy Scouts (www.scouting.org) and/or Girl Scouts (www.girlscouts.org). Then write a short essay describing scouting values and conduct codes, or about other groups or organizations to which you belong that have a strong impact on your behavior.

With friends or classmates, role-play one of the following conversations from the novel: Ted telling April about his plan to help her family; Mrs. Mitchell asking Superintendant Seward not to close Red Prairie Learning Center; Plattsford residents telling television reporters about trying to help April and her family.

Create an imaginary blog for Red Prairie Learning Center. What would you call your blog? Write a series of postings in the character of Ted, Mrs. Mitchell, and other students in the classroom. What links might the group suggest offering? How might Ted's encounter with April affect the content of the blog?

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Topics

What do the opening pages of the novel tell readers about Ted's daily routine, his town, and his feelings about both? What is different about the morning on which the story begins?

Describe the Red Prairie Learning Center. How is it similar to, or different from, your school? Would you like to go to school in Plattsford? Why or why not?

How does Ted's love of mysteries affect his investigation of the face in the farmhouse window? Was he correct in going to the farmhouse alone?

How have April and her family come to be hiding in the farmhouse? Do you think April is making a good choice to hide there? Explain your answer.

How does being a Boy Scout affect Ted's actions? Given the situation, can Ted act honestly toward everyone — April, his family, Ruby Cantrell at the E&A Market, Mrs. Mitchell — at the same time? Have you ever found that keeping a secret for one person required you to behave dishonestly toward another? How did this make you feel? How did you solve your dilemma?

How has Mrs. Mitchell made her small schoolhouse situation work? What are he concerns for the Red Prairie Learning Center's future? How does Mrs. Mitchell's home life affect her concerns? Compare Mrs. Mitchell's situation to Mr. Hammond's outlook for his farm. What similarities or differences do you note?

Why does Ted tell his secret to Mrs. Mitchell? How does she feel about keeping Ted's confidence? What does she do? How does Ted feel about her actions?

What happens when Ted discovers April's family gone from the Anderson farmhouse? What was Deputy Linwood really investigating? What does this confusion suggest about keeping secrets? Where does Ted find April?

What does Ted decide is the best way to help April and her family? To whom does he reach out for help? What effects do his actions have upon his town?

Is Ted ultimately able to help April? How do the efforts of his town ultimately help others? How does this, in turn, help Plattsford?

Describe ways in which your school, religious, or civic groups reach out to others. Have you ever participated in such efforts? How did this make you feel? Why is it important for communities to offer help to those in need?

Imagine you are Ted as a senior in high school. Looking back, how might you describe your Room One mystery experience? What is the most important thing you learned?

Activities and Research

Write a letter to Ted recommending a mystery novel. Explain why you think he will enjoy the book and whether or not you think he can solve the case before the final page. If desired, share your recommendation with friends or classmates.

Create a class survey about jobs. How many students have jobs? Do students plan to get jobs and at what age? What jobs would they like to try? How many students have daily chores at home? How many receive allowances? Compile the results of your survey into a short report, including graphs or tables.

On a two-columned chart, compare Ted's school to your own. Consider the building, class size, daily routines and other observations. In small groups, research different ways kids are educated, from public schools to homeschooling. Use your research for a classroom debate on the best types of learning settings.

In the character of April, write a series of journal entries describing: how you feel when you spot Ted through the window; why you decide to tell Ted your story; your feelings about losing your dad in the war; your concerns about your mother; your feelings just before leaving Plattsford.

In the character of Mrs. Mitchell, list the pros and cons of keeping Ted's secret. Discuss your list with friends or classmates. Vote to see whether most kids agree or disagree with Mrs. Mitchell's actions. Ask students to explain their votes.

Go online to learn more about the Boy Scouts (www.scouting.org) and/or Girl Scouts (www.girlscouts.org). Then write a short essay describing scouting values and conduct codes, or about other groups or organizations to which you belong that have a strong impact on your behavior.

With friends or classmates, role-play one of the following conversations from the novel: Ted telling April about his plan to help her family; Mrs. Mitchell asking Superintendant Seward not to close Red Prairie Learning Center; Plattsford residents telling television reporters about trying to help April and her family.

Create an imaginary blog for Red Prairie Learning Center. What would you call your blog? Write a series of postings in the character of Ted, Mrs. Mitchell, and other students in the classroom. What links might the group suggest offering? How might Ted's encounter with April affect the content of the blog?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A great mystery! I am a sixth grade student in Glendale, Az.

    The book Room One is an incredible book created by Andrew Clements and he is a great writer with excellent description. The main characters in this book are mostly just Ted and he is a young boy who delivers papers in the morning. He is a very diligent student who is in third grade. He listens to what people say and you don't have to say it more than once. There is a young boy named Ted who delivers papers and love mysteries. So, one day he was delivering papers and saw a young girl face in the old abandoned house window. Therefore he decides to stop and go see and doesn't find any body. Now everyday he leaves a few cans of food right inside and of course eats the food. Happily they became really good friends and then one day she is not there and everybody figures it out. The novel's setting was past and it theme is a mystery. I liked this story because I love freaky mysteries. I connected to the book very good. But I suggest that if you are going to you should be at least in third grade depending on your reading level and I loved this book!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    This book is amazing!!!!!

    This book was awesome, it was thrilling and suspenseful. I would recommend this book to any fifth grader!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2009

    Very Good Mystery!

    I really liked it! It is a great mystery to read on rainy days. My favorite part of the book was when Andrew Clements was explaining the one room school house and the Kids and teacher. This book is not boring it is very exciting!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Good but apparently not too exciting

    My nephew really likes the author, Andrew Clements, and he likes mysteries so I thought it would be a winner. For the first half of the book my 9 yr old nephew kept saying it was boring, but that he was going to stick with it. About 2/3 of the way through he started to get more interested in the story, and ended up liking the book. Still it was not one of his favorites, and I doubt he would recommend it. He really enjoyed Clement's "No Talking".

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 14, 2011

    Room One

    Book Review Outline
    Book title and author: Room One Andrew Clements
    Title of review: Room One book review
    Number of stars (1 to 5): 4

    Introduction-if you like a book with cliff hangers this is a good book.

    Description and summary of main points-Room one is about a boy, Ted, and a small town helping a homeless family. Ted tries to use detective skills to solve the mystery.

    Evaluation-I thought Ted was the best character. He tries to help a poor family. I thought the book was alright.

    Conclusion-I would recommend this book to people who like cliff hangers.
    Your final review I give this book Stars.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    interesting

    andrew clements is one of my favorite authors and this book topped it all off starting from the beginning to the end it was just so interesting i didn't want to put it down.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2008

    READ IT READ IT READ IT!!!!!!

    I love this book so much!!If you love mysteries then this book is great for you!It's about a boy who meets a family who is in need of a home.It's a really great book and once you read it you'll know what I mean!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2007

    Is Room One a Mystery or Not?

    Room one is about a family that lives in an abandoned house. The house is located in a small town in nebreska called Plattsford. The family consists of a mother and her son and daughter. The mom's name is Alexa Thayer the son's name is Artie, and the daughter's name is April. The Thayer family is hiding in the house because they are on the run from the mom's ex-boyfriend. The family has gone through some tough times after the childrens father died in Iraq. So they are hiding in the house until the rest of their family comes to get them to bring them to Colorado. In Nebraska they meet a boy named Ted Hammond. So Ted starts to help april and her family surive by bringing the family what they needed. But Ted can't keep bringing them what they need. So Ted set up a plan to help april and her family and he hopes it will work.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    Worst Book I Have Ever Read! (No joke)

    How can you even call this a mystery?! There are no clues and there isn't even a plot! It's sooo slow and I bet you there is not a single '!' in the whole book. Example: 'There was a face in the window. Oh no.' The boy wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, and the ending was horrible and ruined the whole book (not that it wasn't already ruined). My theory is this: The author has written some OK books and then decided to try and write a mystery and ended up with something pretty lame. If you ever see this book in the library, discard it ASAP so no one will have to go through the misery and boredom of reading it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    Pretty cool

    I like it. Was it the best Andrew Clements book? No. Is it still a good book? Yes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Em ko

    I hate his books and tvvyuyvrddsxrtyukkbfetu.kbrdtuo
    .uuycrtywzxghgfghzggdFghjgcvbjj

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    Anwsering a question

    Yes it is a wonderful book and thats a good question i dont know how many pages there is in the book probly somewere in the hundreds....... bye

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    ANSWER NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!please?!!!!!!!

    How many pages are there and is it a good book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Best book

    Do u like mysteries? If u do, read room one its the best Andrew clements is the best ever

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Good book

    I liked the book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Decent

    Pretty good, but it's VERY expensive 4 the level it's at though

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Best Book

    This book is great! It involves things that actually happen in reality. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    moronic

    War propaganda for children. Do not buy this book.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009

    Good Book,

    Room One was good, not GREAT. The book is good for 3-5th graders cuz it has a 5.1 reading level and has suitable font.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    Bad Mystery Book to Read!

    Ted Hammond a 5th grade student believes that the Andersons home is haunted as the Andersons moved away and nobody is supposed to be living there. Ted wants to be a detective so that he can discover the mysteries of the haunted house. Through his expedition he meets April a big, tough, adventurous girl who lives in the mysterious house. The House is not what it seems to be. Instead of many adventures, the book talks a lot about a family in need. Not a lot of adventure as I expected to read. Most of the story was boring and not to imaginative. Not at all what I expected!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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