The Mysterious Benedict Society
The Mysterious Benedict Society ... Just what are they up to anyway?
The newspaper advertisement is addressed to "gifted children looking for special opportunities". Well, that certainly describes Reynie Muldoon! The 11-year-old orphan is one of four children to complete a series of challenging and creative tasks and dub themselves the Mysterious Benedict Society. The team has been recruited to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (L.I.V.E.) to derail a plot to take over the world. Their intellect, imagination and resourcefulness are called upon to discover the secrets on the island where L.I.V.E. is located, and their only chance to succeed is by working together.
These are the times when I love the success of Harry Potter even more. Proof positive that long books can be popular, kids can be brilliant and the gritty parts of life don't need to be made shiny.
Our four protagonists - Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance - fit the typical personality types you tend to see in groups. Well, except for Constance. She's quite the fly in the ointment and it's not until the end that you actually discover why. (Shhh. Don't tell.) They're a group that you actually really get behind and root for from the beginning. Reynie serves as the leader and tends to be the point of view for the reader, so it's easy for him to be the favorite, but I think Kate has potential for future stories to be a breakout star.
The adventure is a bit on the unbelievable side at times, but that's part of what makes it an adventure. And just plain old fun.
The story reminds me a little of the Series of Unfortunate Events with the crazy acronyms, over-the-top villans and self-reliant children. If you enjoyed those, I'm confident you'll like these.
Check out the review and interview done recently with Stewart after this book was chosen for NPR's Backseat Book Club.
(A note on images. The drawings used on this webpage come from the first book and are included under the fair use section of copyright law.)
Mysterious Benedict Society Videos
Continue the Adventures with the Society
And Even More Mysterious Benedict Society Adventures
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict
It Was a Puzzling Story ...
Mr. Benedict uses a series of puzzles to help him find the members of the Mysterious Benedict Society. While none of the members arrive at the same answers, they apparently all passed with flying colors.
Would you have been able to pass the test?
Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums
The Society Members
A careful thinker, Reynie becomes the leader of the group almost by default. He takes the time to think through every twist of the story, every puzzle thrown his way. He worries about being brave enough and stresses about suddenly having people who depend on him.
A bit of a jump-first and look-later type, Kate takes an unconventional view of things. Her handy-dandy bucket contains a strange collection of odds and ends, things that turn out to be quite useful at the strangest of times.
The opposite of Kate, Sticky (real name George) is nervous and overly cautious. He is able to read at lightening speed and remember everything he reads perfectly. He finds inner strength he never knew he had and acceptance at a time when he really needs it.
Tiny, cranky and constantly tired, Constance doesn't seem to add much to the team. She has to be carried in order to keep up, provides obnoxious answers to any question and needs words explained to her constantly. In the end, she plays a crucial role in helping the team win out over Mr. Curtain.
The Curiosity Chronicle
- The Curiosity Chronicle
Official website for the Benedict Society
Which Character are You Most Like?
We'll assume for the moment that no one here would be like any of the bad guys. So which of the good guys are you most like?