We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School, Book 1) Review
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Lately, Benjamin Pratt’s life has been going through some major changes. Not long ago, his parents separated, and now he splits his time between his house, where his mom lives, and his dad’s boat.

Once the school year ends, he’ll face another change: moving on to a big, new school. Then the 200-year-old building that Captain Oakes dedicated to the children of Eastport will be torn down and turned into an amusement park.

The park once seemed like a cool idea—but then Ben runs into the school’s janitor, Mr. Keane, one morning. Mr. Keane is hurt—and he needs Ben’s help. Before the ambulance arrives, he hands Ben an old coin—left by Captain Oakes himself—and tells Ben to defend the school.

Now it’s up to Ben and his friend, Jill, to take care of the school—but they’ll have to be careful, since the new janitor, Mr. Lyman, is watching their every move.

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children is an incredibly long title for a surprisingly short book. In this first book in a new kids’ series (suggested for kids ages 7-10), author Andrew Clements sets the stage for what looks like will be an exciting (though treacherous) adventure, as Ben and Jill set out to save their school.

Since it’s under 150 pages long, there isn’t a whole lot of resolution in this first book in the series. Instead, it introduces readers to the characters and their situation. Though there isn’t a lot of time to develop particularly strong characters with plenty of personality, some of the characters are still instantly likeable—like Ben, a kind and thoughtful kid who loves sailing and wants nothing more than for his parents to get back together. Though Jill doesn’t get nearly as much attention in this first book, she, too, is a lovable character—a brainy girl who isn’t afraid to argue her position.

Other characters, on the other hand, aren’t quite as likeable—like Ben’s rival, Robert, who may get a chance to redeem himself at some point in the series. And then there’s Mr. Lyman, the mysterious villain, who seems to be up to more than just mopping the floors at the school.

The Keepers of the School promises to be a smart and enjoyable adventure series for young readers. Although We the Children will leave readers with more questions than answers, it does introduce a pair of likeable young heroes—as well as a series of riddles that they’ll need to solve one by one in upcoming books.

The only catch? You (and your favorite young reader) will have to wait for the next book to see how the next clue plays out—and to see if Ben and Jill can save their school.

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