Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society
The Mysterious Benedict Society, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Apr. 2007 Author: Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society was recommended to me by Jessica Morales (@JessLMorales), a friend of my daughter. When I got it from the library, I realized that I had seen it before, and it turns out my son read it a couple of years ago. Long story short, I loved this book. It is a wonderfully woven plot with lots of mysteries and clues, all layered on top of some serious issues that many authors would be afraid to tackle. It reminded me a little of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which I assure you is high praise indeed, but even more of a lesser known book by Ellen Raskin, The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel). These are all wonderful books that make kids think, but make the thinking a huge amount of fun.

In The Mysterious Benedict Society, four gifted children find themselves trying to stop a nefarious plot to control people's minds by the conniving Ledroptha Curtain. Fortunately, on their side they have the mysterious Mr. Benedict and his helpers. At every step, they are close to be caught and brainswept by Mr. Curtain and his helpers, the Executives, but the children manage to escape again and again using wits, luck and courage.

Mingled in with the plot are many little clues and mysterious and word plays that would also make this a great book to read again and again. Kids will feel smart as they catch on to the name of the island and other subtle jokes that are not necessary to follow the plot, but make the read endlessly fun.

This book is aimed at grades 5-9, but is entertaining enough to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. I heartily recommend this book.

Five Stars!

More about The Mysterious Benedict Society and sequels on
More about The Mysterious Benedict Society and sequels on

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