We the Children by Andrew Clements

(Suggested reading level: Grades 3-6)

This is the first in a new series featuring Benjamin Pratt. His harbor-side school is about to be demolished to make way for a nautical theme amusement park.  Ben is not a big fan of change, especially with his parents’ recent separation, and when an dying janitor entrusts him with a gold coin he knows he has to do something.

He read aloud, still whispering, “‘If attacked, look nor’-nor’east from amidships on the upper deck.'” He turned the coin over. “‘First and always, my school belongs to the children. DEFEND IT. Duncan Oakes, 1783.'” (pg 6. Advance Reader’s Copy)

The school is definitely under attack and it’s up to Benjamin and his friend Jill to decipher the clues, find out what’s going on and save the school.

Can they do it? I assume so, but we don’t find out in this book. Like I said above, it’s the first in the series and there’s no resolution at all at the end. It just kinda stopped. Actually I read it aloud to Amber (10) over the course of several nights and when I got to the end, I turned the page expecting more. There wasn’t any more. I just want an ending, please. I know the main plot will continue, but give me some kind of conclusion, even if it’s to a minor side issue. It’s a pet peeve of mine. I love series, but I want each installment to have some kind of closure on its own.

That being said, it didn’t seem to bother Amber as much as it did me. She says Benjamin Pratt’s awesome, especially after the truly exciting event that happens in the last chapter.

I like how Jill and Ben are working together to solve the mystery. They’re both really good kids. Ben’s working on dealing with his feelings about his parents, but he’s not overly moody, not mean. He has a good set of values. Even though Ben is the main character, Jill is a competent, strong, smart girl on her own. They’re partners in this adventure.

Also, all the sailing terms and nautical jargon add a unique aspect to the book. The sea side setting is interesting. Ben’s dad lives on a boat and Ben takes sailing classes. Neither Amber nor I know anything about sailing, but the story explained things well and actually helped us learn some.

We’ll be looking forward to reading the next in the series, just to see what happens. This one was more of an introduction, in my opinion.

Publish date: April 6, 2010 by Antheneum
Keepers of the School #1
143 pages

Challenges: 100+. A to Z

Our copy was an Advance Reader’s Copy sent to us by the publisher and the above is our honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.