Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Trenton Lee Stewart
Illustrator:  Carson Ellis 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2007   ISBN: 978-0316057776

Reynie Muldoon is, to put it simply, a very brilliant boy. So when he sees the words: "ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES?" in the local newspaper, he cannot resist reading more. In no time at all he finds himself participating in a series of tests with a groupĀ of other children. The tests are decidedly peculiar, and when they are over Reynie is one of four individuals who has passed the tests.

The children are Reynie Muldoon, Kate Wetherall, Sticky Washington, and Constance Contraire, and all of them are, for one reason or another, alone in the world. They are taken to meet a decidedly odd but very brilliant man called Mr. Benedict, who explains that there is an organization out there which calls itself the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. Something very fishy and sinister is going on inside this organization. Mr. Benedict set up the whole testing process to find four children who would be capable of going uncover, posing as students, to find out what the people at the Institute are really up to. Mr. Benedict already has sense of what might be going on, and the idea is quite frightful. He knows that a great deal could depend on the four children that he has chosen to help him.

All four children agree to do the job, knowing full well that their adversaries are very dangerous indeed. And so, armed with just a little information and their own skills, they begin their mission, hoping to find out what this secretive organization is really up to, and if anything can be done to stop them before it is too late.

This unique and gripping adventure tale will have young readers riveted to their seats. The four heroes are all very different and we cannot help wondering how they are going to manage in their quest. Trenton Lee Stewart writes in a very singular style which will challenge and intrigue his readers, giving them plenty to think about.