Room One: A Mystery or Two

Room One: A Mystery or Two

3.7 48
by Andrew Clements, Keith Nobbs, Kevin R. Free

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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

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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.

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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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


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


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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