Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Mysterious Benedict Society


From Amazon: "Are You a Gifted Child Looking for Special Opportunities?" Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, starts with Reynie Muldoon, an orphan, who answers the ad. The test is somewhat unusual. and there are different stages. I found the test to be humorous and this book piqued my interest from the first page. Reynie meets Sticky, Kate and Constance and each of them brings special abilities to their group. Their secret mission is challenging and interesting. They meet a group of people there that they interact with throughout the series (the "bad guys"). This series is creative and it's fun to try to solve the puzzles along with Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance. Some were difficult and some were easy for me as an adult to figure out, which made me look smart to my children.

The other books in the trilogy are The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma. There are two other books in the set but we haven't read them, so if you have, please let me know if they're worth reading or are just fun, extra books. I believe they're each stand alone and not part of the actual story. I read all three with my children and we enjoyed them all. This first book was probably my favorite. About halfway through the book, none of us wanted to put it down and we read as much as we could. The second book was the same but the third book didn't grab us as much. This is another great series to share with your children, and if possible, read it with them. 

My Rating for the series: 4 stars


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