Friday, March 23, 2007


Room One: A Mystery or Two

Andrew Clements is one of my favourite authors for kids. I love that he uniformly populates his stories with intelligent kids - not everyone gives children that much credit. I love that readers and the kids in the stories get to know the adults as fully formed characters, not the two-dimensional stock "parent" and "teacher" models found in most children's literature. I love that there are trusting relationships between adults and children in his stories, where they end up working together on something and coming to understand and respect each other. I like that the settings are often in school, and things often begin with the type of project a kid can relate to from their own school environment.

All that said - I did not love this book. I felt like Mr. Clements was totally phoning it in on this one - perhaps because he was trying something a little different, and it just didn't really work. Perhaps because he was trying to keep it shorter for his usual grade 3-4-ish audience and it just wasn't enough time to fully work out what we had started. It just felt rather abrupt, like a summary of what he really wanted to write, as if his editor had either asked him to trim severely or neglected to ask him to flesh it out more. Maybe he was in a rush? Whatever the case, I think it's a damn shame to see him strike out for once.

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