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Monday, May 2, 2011

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

It’s a mystery to me why more wholesome books such as this are too few and far between in recent times.

A newspaper advertisement attracts the main character, Reynie, to a test designed for gifted children. Reynie is an orphan who is, naturally, enough, attracted to the special opportunities offered to the children able to pass the test.

Reynie and only three other children manage to meet the criteria of test. Not that the criteria is clear anyway; although each child met a test of their personal character before they encountered a pen and paper test. Reynie, Katie, and Sticky all resisted the strongest of temptations to cheat, and showed concern enough to take a risk in order to help a fellow student, and then each still passed the formal test in their own way…

Which leads them straight into the arms of trouble. A maze, a mystery, and a man named Benedict all follow in rapid succession. They learn that an effort is underway to brainwash people with subliminal messages. Only a select group of children can travel to the island where this originates and help find a way to stop the villain.

This villain happens to be the twin brother of the adult-hero, Mr. Benedict. With his help, the children travel to the island and solve a mystery, resist the enemy, and help stop Mr. Benedict’s brother-gone, 0bad from taking over the world. This is accomplished because the children are resilient, resourceful, and above-all, lovers of truth.

Though the children enjoy a certain independence, they are helped by virtuous adults. Good and evil are clear and good fights evil. Love is a triumphant force. And the children are lost from their parents for varied reasons, yet in the end, all find a family and home or reunite with a parent.

It is a book out of England and emplys a slightly rurreal effect that is seen more often than in American fiction. The sleuthing of the children has some downright nonsensical talk. The overall effect is enjoyable.

I know a lot of people in my homeschooling circle have discovered this series, so I was slow to re-read it for my blog. Thank you to ….. who encouraged me to take another look!

SAFETY RATING: 3 Flags

2 comments:

Anonymous,  September 9, 2011 at 10:31 AM  

Hi there! I found your blog through a Google search for a review of the Hunger Games (thanks for that!). I just had to chime in here that we too loved "The Mysterious Benedict Society." It's a great one. =)

Anonymous,  October 21, 2012 at 10:27 AM  

Good summary. It is a good book! also, nice quote on top.

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