Ted Hammond learns that in a very small town, there's no such thing as an isolated event. And the solution of one mystery is often the beginning of another.
Ted Hammond loves a good mystery, and in the spring of his fifth-grade year, he's working on a big one. How can his school in the little town of Plattsford stay open next year if there are going to be only five students? Out here on the Great Plains in western Nebraska, everyone understands that if you lose the school, you lose the town.
But the mystery that has Ted's full attention at the moment is about that face, the face he sees in the upper window of the Andersons' house as he rides past on his paper route. The Andersons moved away two years ago, and their old farmhouse is empty, boarded up tight. At least it's supposed to be.
A shrinking school in a dying town. A face in the window of an empty house. At first these facts don't seem to be related. But...
Clements (Frindle ) introduces 12-year-old Ted, a likable lad who reads multiple mysteries each week\x97and insists on solving each midway through the book. (Then he reads the second half to see if he was right.) But now the Nebraska boy finds himself surrounded by real-life mysteries. "It's a mystery to me," says his father, wondering how the family will keep the farm if the price of beef continues to drop and the price of fuel keeps rising. And how can Ted's school (which has only nine students in a single room) survive, given the town's shrinking population ("if the school died, the town died too")? The newest mystery plaguing Ted concerns a face he sees in the window of a deserted farmhouse while on his morning paper route. The aspiring detective decides that this is one mystery he intends to solve on his own. Clements threads some authentic, topical themes into the meaning behind the face in the window (concerning the family of a soldier who died fighting in Iraq), and Ted demonstrates not only his intelligence but his compassion as he helps the family in distress, plus the challenges of keeping the family's presence secret in such a small town. Like every good mystery, this one has an unexpected conclusion. Once again Clements captures real people and real issues, as he shapes another fine work of fiction. Ages 8-12.
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One Of The Best
Andrew Clements' books are all great. This book was really amazing. He made it seem like a real life situation. I recommend this book to everyone.