July 26, 2013

Fiction Friday: Chapter 7

Happy Friday everyone!

Guess what?!  I just got back from the gym and look what I accomplished...

Has anyone ever taking a trekking class?  Oh my gosh... it's amazing!  It's 45 minutes on the treadmill, but you have an instructor guiding you through different intervals.  You sprint, you climb hills, you recover... you do it all.  We were never on 0 incline, so I worked my tail off.  But seeing those numbers at the end...makes it all worth it. Awesome! Now, on to Fiction Friday...

Remember last week when I said I read 2 great books, but only shared one with you.  Well, today is your lucky day, because I am going to tell you about my new favorite series!  I'm not sure how this one got past me because it is not new new, but it was new to me.

Benjamin Pratt & The Keepers of the School
Book One: We the Children
by Andrew Clements

Okay, due to time constraints today, (My BFF from Seattle is in town and we are heading to the San Marcos outlets for some much needed shopping!) I am going to cheat a bit on the summary.

Summary from AndrewClements.com:
Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wonder if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to change everything. And, Ben is not so big on all the new changes in his life, like how his dad has moved out and started living in the marina on what used to be the "family” sailboat. Maybe it would be nice if the school just stayed as it is. He likes the school. Loves it, actually. It’s over 200 years old and sits right on the harbor. The playground has ocean breezes and the classrooms have million dollar views…MILLION DOLLAR views. And after a chance—and final—run-in with the school janitor, Ben starts to discover that these MILLION DOLLAR views have a lot to do with the deal to sell the school property. But, as much as the town wants to believe it, the school does not belong to the local government. It belongs to the CHILDREN and these children have the right to defend it!

Don’t think Ben, his friend Jill (and the tag-along Robert) can ruin a multimillion dollar real estate deal? Then you don’t know the history and the power of the Keepers of the School. A suspenseful six book series, book one, We the Children, starts the battle on land and on sea. It’s a race to keep the school from turning into a ticket booth and these kids are about to discover just how threatening a little knowledge can be. 

My Thoughts:
I was hooked from the beginning.  The story starts off with a bang and never really slows down!  In the very first chapter the janitor injures himself and Ben finds him on his way to class.  In the few minutes before the paramedics arrive, the janitor urgently hands Ben a mysterious coin with a message from the founder of the school.  The coin has been passed down for 200 years and now it is Ben's responsibility to uncover the secrets of the coin and the school.  The janitor warns him that the principal and other janitor can't be trusted.  And so, the mystery begins and the pages just keep on begging to be turned. You know those kids that throw away a book because they are bored in the first two pages?  This is their book.  Action from the beginning!

I started this book in the San Franscico airport during a layover and finished before the plane landed in Seattle.  I couldn't put it down. The series is set up much like the Spiderwick Chronicles. Each book is a chunk of the story, resulting in the mystery finally being solved in the last book...or at least that is my assumption after reading book one.  I can't wait to read the next five books.

The theme of change is very prominent throughout the story.  As someone who doesn't really like change, I could relate to Ben's struggles with the changes in his life.  The changes in his parents marriage, the changes in his daily routines and living arrangements, and the threat of a theme park taking over his small east coast town is all hanging over his head.  It's a lot for anyone and opens the door for great conversations and connections while reading.

Another fun aspect of the story is living near the water and sailing.  In fact, Ben has been taking sailing classes for several years and now participates in races.  Cool, huh? The inclusion of this northeast tradition helps set the stage for the story. Andrew Clements does a great job explaining the sailing/waterfront vocabulary through context. Even for readers with limited experience in a small sailing town, the description allows them to visualize the story and follow along.

I just loved this book and can't wait to find out what happens next.

Fast Facts:
  • Series Chapter Book
  • Grades 4-6 (RL 5.6)
  • Read Aloud 3-6
What did you read this week?  Last week?  Share your favorite children/YA books by linking up to Fiction Friday and/or hop around the linky to discover some new great reads.  I can't wait to hear from you.

Happy Reading!


  1. I've had a couple of the books from the series in my classroom library for a few years but I haven't dad them. I will definitely have to it it in my pile. I'm even more intrigued now since I grew up in the northeast and I race sailboats. Thanks for sharing.

    room 4 imagination

  2. It's hard to go wrong with Andrew Clements. I just love his books! However, shockingly, I haven't read this one yet. Thank you for the recommendation. I will check it out, for sure.

    Great job on your run! I'm headed out as soon as I check a few of these books out. It's perfect running weather in Columbus today.


  3. Great job on the treadmill! That is awesome...lots of calories burned!

  4. Great work on your workout!

  5. I just found your blog! I look forward to following it. You'll have to hop on over to my blog at some point...I see that Christi designed yours, too...you can see what she did with mine! :)
    Crafting Connections


Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!