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Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who formerly sold and recommended children’s books at a bookstore; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A para-educator at a middle school. 3. A struggling young adult writer. 4. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Questions? Suggestions? Books you'd like me to review? E-mail me at cherylynne1 (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is a blog for my ranting, raving, and occasionally brilliant opinions. You have been warned. Enter at your own risk.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2007.
“That’s true,” he said. “Sticky, if you didn’t use the arrows, how did you get through?”
Sticky shuffled his feet and said, “I just kept trying one door after the other, until finally I found the staircase. It was sheer luck.”
“And you found it more quickly the second time? That’s the really lucky part, I guess.”
“Oh, no, that part was easy,” Sticky said. “I just remembered how I got through the first time: First I took a right, then a left, then straight ahead, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then straight ahead, and so on, until I came to the staircase. I didn’t have to waste time scratching my head over those panels, or worrying they were going to turn the lights off, or any of that stuff. I just hurried through exactly as I did before.”
“Exactly as you--,” Kate began, then just shook her head. “That’s incredible. “
Reynie laughed. “You did it the hard way, Sticky!”
“What’s the easy way?”
“Follow the wriggly arrows.”
“Oh,” said Sticky thoughtfully. “That would have been useful to know.”

When a special ad appears in the paper looking for gifted children, thousands show up for the test. But only four are chosen. Four orphans, who are all geniuses in their own right. Reynie can solve any puzzle, decipher any clue, and figure out the answer to any dilemma. Kate, with her trusty bucket (literally) of tricks, can get into, out of, or around any obstacle in her path. Sticky has the ability to memorize anything the first time he sees it. And Constance? Well, she can be…stubborn.

These four children create an incredible team. And their first mission is to go undercover at an Institute for gifted children to stop a man who is trying to take over the world by sending messages over TV waves.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. One of my absolute favorite series for kids. There are tons of brain teasers and puzzles through the book, so you get to test yourself along with the characters to see how smart you are. I wasn’t very smart, but you might be! The writing is excellent. And they actually have a good reason for sending kids into danger, which I LOVED. Authors like to feed us crap about how they need kids because they’re “pure” or something like that. No, these kids have to go because the Institute only accepts children. Makes sense.

The characters and bright and fun and oh-so-loveable. The story is fast paced and keeps you interested, even if it is rather long for a young reader. This is the perfect novel for the kids that devour every book you give them in a matter of hours. At 485 pages, it’ll keep them entertained as well as keeping them busy for a few days. Also great for adults who want to read with their kids, because many of the brain teasers are at an adult level. So much fun!

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