The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart
Little, Brown and Company, 2007
When hundreds of children respond to an advertisement in the paper, seeking gifted or talented children, almost all who respond are turned aside by a series of brain-numbing tests. Four of these children, though, emerge victorious. The children who pass these tests are: Reynie Muldoon, an orphanage child with amazing problem-solving ability. George “Sticky” Washington, who has incredible brain power and a near-perfect photographic memory. Kate Wetherall an athletic, resourceful, and fast-thinking twelve-year-old, and Constance Contraire, an incredibly stubborn and rather moody girl.
After completing the tests, these four orphans are introduced to Mr. Benedict, a bright and pleasurable person. He tells the children of Ledroptha Curtain, his twin brother and the principal of the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened or L.I.V.E.
Mr. Benedict tells the children that Mr. Curtain is using L.I.V.E. as a cover to send secret messages into the brains of their city’s residents. He uses children from his institute to send these messages through the television and radio. When someone hears a message they become confused and panicky, causing what is known in the city simply as “the emergency”. Ledroptha’s plan is to begin blasting these messages around the entire world using a machine known as “the whisperer”. This would have an astronomical impact, making those afflicted by the messages desperate to do whatever it takes to stop the them. Ledrophta’s ultimate goal is to become dictator of the world.
Mr. Benedict sends the children to thwart this plan, and the children learn many other shocking and not altogether good secrets while there.
The worldview in this book is not significant, but it is secular. The children at numerous times do many things without evaluating them on a moral basis first. However, I do not think that children of any age would have problems when reading this book.
Christian Analyzation/ Age Appropriateness/Readability
This is a great book for all ages. There are no aspects of this book that would raise questions or make it a difficult read for children of any age.
I really enjoyed this book, the plot wasn’t overly original, but it was fun to read and I look forward to the rest of the series.