Everyone knows Harry Potter and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but how many people know about the Mysterious Benedict Society? I certainly didn’t and my big kid certainly didn’t until we chatted with staff at our local bookstore. We’ve already read a number of Roald Dahl books and we were interested in extending our book choices but Harry Potter seemed a bit intense and mature for the time being.
The recommendation: the Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. If your child is between the ages of 9 – 12 years, this is one series that can’t be missed.
Who is this Mysterious Benedict Society?
While I’d love to spill the beans and tell you every single detail about the Mysterious Benedict Society, I’ll keep it as short as I can so as not to ruin the story for you. In essence, the Mysterious Benedict Society is comprised of 4 extremely talented children. Kate, Reynie, Sticky, and Candace are all incredibly gifted not with superhero powers by any means but they are incredibly adept (sorry, don’t want to overshare!).
Book 1, featured here, tells you exactly how the Mysterious Benedict Society came into existence and reveals their first mission. Fair warning, the mission isn’t exactly lighthearted but there also aren’t any gory deaths or murders. There’s a lot of suspense, a lot of mysteries to solve along the way, and yes, there is a happy ending.
Now, there is a book 2 and we’re currently on book 3 so you know there are more troubles in store for the Mysterious Benedict Society. We have no idea how book 3 will end but we’re sure it’s going to be a good one.
What makes the Mysterious Benedict Society so good?
Trenton Lee Stewart has done something remarkable. The Mysterious Benedict Society books bring the reader along for the ride but they get to play an active part. The story is written in such a way that the reader can partake in the adventures. Every time the Mysterious Benedict Society come across a mystery or a puzzle, you get a chance to try and figure it out too.
Time and time again, my daughter and I would pause and try to figure out what the riddle or puzzle was or we’d try to figure out what would happen after each suspenseful cliffhanger. The look of triumph on my kid’s face was priceless and I knew she felt proud because if she could figure it out, she was right up there with the kids in the Mysterious Benedict Society.
Be prepared though, when my daughter and I first started reading the Mysterious Benedict Society it was extremely difficult for us to put it down. At one point, I think we read over 200 pages in one day! That’s quite a lot considering how much usually happens on any given day. My big kid would talk incessantly about each character and we’d re-hash different events that took place in the book. We even visited the website to learn more about the characters and the series.
Trenton Lee Stewart took the time to build each character and do so in such a way that each is unique, with a distinct personality and talent. If you’re reading this book out loud, as I did with my big kid, you’ll want to come up with different voices for each character. The dialogue in the book made it ideal for oral storytelling skills to shine.
Trenton Lee Stewart, if you happen to stumble upon this post, I want to say ‘thank you’ to you for writing such a beautiful series for children like mine to enjoy. While I have nothing against Harry Potter or other such type stories, I greatly appreciate books like yours that build suspense and excitement that is best described as ‘age appropriate’ by my standards. Your characters are well thought out with depth and personality that make them relatable to that big kid age bracket.
The pace, the dialogue, the plot, and the overall sentiment of the Mysterious Benedict Society series = all pure magic.
Thank you, Trenton Lee Stewart. If I was a kid, I’d be happy to get the Mysterious Benedict Society as a gift!
For more information, visit the Mysterious Benedict Society website at: http://www.mysteriousbenedictsociety.com/
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