Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children

Andrew Clements
Illustrator:  Adam Stower 
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 11
Simon and Schuster, 2010   ISBN: 978-1416938866

When Ben first heard that his school was going to be knocked down to make way for an amusement park, he was happy to hear the news. Now though he is beginning to see things in a new light. Late for school yet again, Ben meets the school janitor, Mr. Keane, in one of the hallways. Mr. Keane has broken his ankle, and while he waits for the ambulance to arrive, he gives Ben something very precious. It is a large gold coin with writing on it. The words say, “First and always my school belongs to the children. Defend it. Duncan Oakes, 1783.” Mr. Keane wants Ben to defend the school from the developers who want to tear it down.

After Mr. Keane dies in the hospital, Ben begins to think that perhaps there is something in what the old man said. The new janitor seems to be a very fishy character, and Ben doesn’t like the way the developers managed to get around all the objections raised against the proposed plan. Does he have to accept the Duncan Oakes’ challenge? Could it be that he and Jill are meant to protect and defend the school?

This is the first book in what promises to be an interesting new series. Andrew Clements builds up the tension and mystery perfectly, and he leaves readers wondering what is going to happen next.