Friday, August 8, 2008

Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

In a city called Stonetown, near a port called Stonetown Harbor, a boy named Reynie Muldoon was preparing to take an important test.

Summary: Reynie's life was about to change, all because of these nine words: "ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITES?" Before he knew it, Reynie was standing in a very long line of children all waiting to take that test, which led to another test, and then another, each more mysterious and puzzling than the last. But only four very special children succeed: Reynie, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire. They soon discover they've been selected to complete a secret mission that requires the intelligence and resourcefulness that they alone possess. It's a mission filled with mystery, excitement...and danger. Will they accept it? And more importantly, can they succeed if they do?

For Teachers and Librarians: Where to begin? First and foremost, The Mysterious Benedict Society is an excellent story - one that will grab and keep the attention of each of your students. There's something for everyone here: mystery, danger, action, good vs. evil, puzzles, problem-solving, humor...even poetry! Weaved throughout are larger issues about society, power and control, as well as more personal journeys related to self-confidence, self-doubt, inner strength, leadership, trust and friendship. You could branch out into so many different directions, it's mind-boggling. Pick up a copy for yourself and read it. And keep a notebook and pencil right beside you as you read - with the watershed of lesson ideas that will no doubt pour from your mind as you read, you'll be glad you did!

For Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers: Author Trenton Lee Stewart said in an interview with that the idea for The Mysterious Benedict Society came from his belief that "children are often seen, rarely heard, and always underestimated!" This is definitely a kid-power book. It will show your kids that they are important, and that they have great ideas that are worth listening to and acting upon. They will see that that with hard work and the help of friends and others who care about them, they can do almost anything. The story is action-packed, funny, serious, puzzling, mysterious, sometimes sad, and always surprising. The kids in this story learn a lot about themselves, the world they live in, and the adults who support them. What will your kids get from this story? The possibilities boggle the mind - so make sure to get a copy into their hands as soon as possible.

For the Kids: The world needs saving, but almost nobody knows it. Nobody, that is, except for four kids and the adults who brought them together. And get this: the only ones who can fix what's going wrong is the kids! There is so much in this book to like: a secret mission, snooping around for clues, solving riddles, even figuring out Morse Code. There is danger around every corner, but there's also help around every corner, too - if they can just solve the riddles to figure out what the help is. These are four kids who have the same feelings lots of kids have - they worry about their families, they worry about their friends, they get afraid, they wonder if they're good people and if they're strong enough or smart enough to do what has to be done. They laugh with each other, sometimes they get mad at each other, but they're always there for each other. So, can their friendship survive this most dangerous mission?

For Everyone Else: The Mysterious Benedict Society has a little bit of everything: mystery, action, poetry, humor, adventure, and an epic battle of good vs evil. There's so much to like here, and so many ways for you to identify with so many characters, you'll find it hard to put down...

Wrapping Up:

Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society
Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
Illustrator: Carson Ellis
Pages: 512 pages
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Publisher and Date: Little, Brown Young Readers, April 1, 2008
Edition: Paperback
Language: English
Published In: United States
Price: $6.99
ISBN-10: 0316003956
ISBN-13: 978-0316003957


  1. I am reading this book right now it is REALLY good so far and i am only on pg 58 out of 485.

  2. Wonderful! I know you will love the rest, too! Let me know when you're finished, if you'd like, and what you thought of the book.

  3. what is the place called, where sticky went when he was "bad" was it the waiting room??

  4. Hmmm. Good question, April 27th Anonymous. I actually don't remember the name of that room. But if you find the book, you can look that up. Let me know if you find the answer.

  5. well, yes it is called the waiting room. I absolutely love this book! I've read this book and its sequel. I'm looking forward to the sequel of the sequel!

  6. I love this book! It is one of the best books I have read in a while. Cant wait to read the sequel!

  7. I have read all the books they are AMAZING!!:-D
    Is he going to make another book? I hope!!!

  8. I haven't been able to find any info on whether Trenton Lee Stewart is coming out with any more books for kids, besides the three books in the Mysterious Benedict Society series. But I'm with you: I hope so, too!

  9. THIS IS THE GREATEST SERIES IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD OF SERIESES!!!!!!!! i LOVE the mysterious benedict society...cant wait to get the 3rd book :)

  10. If you got to the home page it will say:


    then it will ask you for a password inside the paperback edition of The Prisoner's Dilemma.
    Probably to preview it i guess but i don't know the password so if you find it you'll know.


So, what's on your mind?