Great Illustrated Books

The Mysterious Benedict Society (Mysterious Benedict Society series)

By Trenton Lee Stewart, Illustrated by Carson Ellis

Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007
Pages : 485
Suggested Ages: 9-12
ISBN: 9780316057776

“ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES?” That newspaper ad brings together four resourceful and multitalented children, all of whom are orphans or alone in the world, to become secret agents for Mr. Benedict, a genius who has uncovered a nefarious international mind-control plot. There's Reynie Muldoon, whose logical thinking helps him solve puzzles; Kate Wetherall, who can climb anywhere and fix anything with her tool-filled bucket; tenacious Sticky Washington, who has total recall of everything he's ever read; and the diminutive Constance Contraire, whose crabby and belligerent demeanor is her greatest gift. Their mission will be to infiltrate the exclusive Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and to discover how and why the school's founder is transmitting subliminal doctrinaire messages into people's brains. Turns out the guy plans to take over the world.

Readers who thrive on problem-solving novels like Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer, Eric Berlin's The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, and Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game will enjoy the fast-paced intrigue, while lovers of James Patterson’s exhilarating Maximum Ride books will identify with the kids-save-the-world theme. Ask your own intrepid adventurers to think about their own singular and perhaps unrecognized talents and figure out how these attributes have helped them solve problems and puzzles in their own lives.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Anderson, M. T. Whales on Stilts. Harcourt, 2005. ISBN-13: 9780307284334

Balliett, Blue. Chasing Vermeer. Scholastic, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780439372947

Berlin, Eric. The Puzzling World of Winston Breen. Putnam, 2007. ISBN-13: 9780399246937

Jonell, Lynne. Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat. Henry Holt, 2007. ISBN-13: 9780805081503

Patterson, James. The Angel Experiment. Little, Brown, 2005. (And others in the Maximum Ride series.) ISBN-13: 9780316067959

Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game. Dutton, 1978. ISBN-13: 9780142401200

Rex, Adam. The True Meaning of Smekday. Hyperion, 2007. ISBN-13: 9780786849000

Snicket, Lemony. The Austere Academy. HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN-13: 9780064408639

Critics have said

Underlying themes about the power of media messages and the value of education add to this book's appeal, and a happy ending with hints of more adventures to come make this first-time author one to remember.
Beth L. Meister

Complex, unpredictable, and deeply respectful of children's innate intelligence, The Mysterious Benedict Society is highly recommended for thoughtful preteens. P.S. We loved it, too!
Barnes and Noble Review

Kids who are itching for a boarding-school-set fantasy-adventure in between visits to Hogwarts might pleasantly pass the time listening to this quirky tale.
Publishers Weekly

The characters are well developed, mostly appealing, and evenhanded. Ellis's line drawings add a crowning flair. Do not miss this one. Buy two copies because they will be needed.