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Fear Itself: Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School, Book 2

Review

Fear Itself: Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School, Book 2

written by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Adam Stower

Sixth-grader Benjamin Pratt is a reluctant hero living in the waterfront town of Edgeport, Massachusetts. After saving the life of show-off classmate Robert Gerritt during a sailboat accident, Ben shuns the limelight, as he is more focused on trying to save historic Captain Oakes School from the wrecking ball.

A group of developers has bought the school property to make room for an amusement park. Demolition begins immediately after the building closes for summer vacation, which will be in just a few weeks. Ben has been entrusted with a sacred secret by janitor Roger Keane just before he died. For centuries, janitors like Mr. Keane have been caretakers of the school. Lurking in the background is the evil new janitor, Lyman, the man Mr. Keane warned Ben not to trust.

Under the close scrutiny of the sneaky Lyman, Ben and his friend, Jill Acton, work together to find a way to keep the school open. While doing research in the school library, Ben and Jill make an amazing discovery about Captain Oakes's will. But how can they make sure their finding doesn't fall into the wrong hands? And something else is worrying Ben. The usually organized and cheery Jill is cranky and acting strangely, like she has something to hide.

Ben has a few secrets of his own. While attending Mr. Keane's funeral, he meets Tom Benton, an elderly former janitor with a flair for the dramatic. Tom likes to spin tales --- and asks Ben for a favor. But can Tom be trusted?

In this second installment of the Keepers of the School adventure/mystery series, Andrew Clements brings back the familiar faces of Ben, Jill and Robert while introducing a few new characters. The mystery continues, and the suspense is ratcheted up with secret compartments, hidden codes, mysterious bells, and an even more desperate and diabolical villain. As in the first book, this follow-up includes nautical terms and historical references to the Revolutionary War. Clements also introduces readers to some classic literature.

Have no fear, because FEAR ITSELF is an entertaining and engaging tale about courage, friendship and respect.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on August 30, 2011

Fear Itself: Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School, Book 2
written by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Adam Stower

  • Publication Date: August 30, 2011
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416939083
  • ISBN-13: 9781416939085