Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Series: The Mysterious Benedict Society: #1

Well that took a while to read. I read it outloud, part of a chapter a night many nights, and it still took a few months. Glad I did it though, it’s a great book, especially for kids, but even more so to read aloud with them.

It’s a story about a group of children, each lost and/or alone in different ways, each brilliant (as the first section and a series of tests shows both to them and to us) and thus necessary for a SECRET MISSION. I won’t go much more into that, but once they get out on the mission and have to prove that they are more than up to the task–it’s great.

The real strength: the main cast is great. The kids of course: Reynie, everyman point of view, albeit brilliant; Kate (and her bucket), spunky go to it girl that takes the phrase ‘be prepared’ to heart; Sticky (actually George Washington, but I get why he’d go by another name…), with a perfectly ‘sticky’ memory; and Constance, tiny but fierce–for a good reason as we eventually find out. They’re a great mix and all have their own times to shine. I think that’s probably one of the best parts of reading the books aloud for the kids.

The adults are fun too. I particularly like the contrast of Mrs. Benedict and Curtain. You’ll see why, but just let it be known, it’s great.

Random early test I thought great:

The next page showed a picture of a chessboard, upon which all the pieces and pawns rested in their starting positions, except for a black pawn, which had advanced two spaces. The question read: “According to the rules of chess, is this position possible?” Reynie studied the board a moment, scratched his head, and wrote down his answer: YES.

He’s right! Think about it.