Friday, March 25, 2011

Fear Itself

by Andrew Clements
Atheneum, 2010. 204 pgs. Fiction

Ben and Jill search ever more anxiously for Captain Oakes' "safeguards" that will save their school in this second volume of Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School. The tension mounts as the deadline for demolition approaches; even more so when the creepy Mr. Lyman, the bogus janitor, starts watching and then threatening Ben and Jill as they puzzle through Captain Oakes' clues, including an ancient codicil to the Captain's will and Ben finds a tackle box with a lot more in it than rusty fish hooks. Young people will not only find an engaging mystery in this book, but a lot of history as well. The characters are nuanced and appealing, schoolwork is interesting and productive, and the book is filled with respect for the past and for natural beauty. The CD version, read admirably by Keith Nobbs, will surely appeal to reluctant readers or to a family on a road trip.

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