I was aghast to be assigned this bulky volume three days prior to teaching the elementary fiction class… But after two full rigorous weeks of the summer intensive program, I finally found myself having thoroughly enjoyed reading and teaching this children’s book.
Largely influenced by the Harry Potter saga, Trenton Lee Stewart’s adventure story features an intelligent and precocious orphan Reynard “Reynie” Muldoon who soon finds himself company of the nerdy George “Sticky” Washington, the tumbling Kate Witherall and the disagreeable Constance Contraire after trying for a special test administered by the ingenious Mr. Benedict who is unfortunately suffering from an unusual condition called Narcolepsy, a disorder that makes him fall asleep every time he is seized with amusement. Having named themselves “Mysterious Benedict Society,” they infiltrate into the ominous Institute of the Very Enlightened as secret agents of Mr. Benedict who are determined to seek the secrets of the hidden messages coming from it.
An orphan boy unwillingly taking the leader role, a group of faithful friends and the setting of a grand mysterious school all reminded me of the major features of the Harry Potter saga, but Trenton Lee Stewart brings his own wits to this story full of enlightening puzzles and twists. (Turn the word “LOSE” to get the number “3507” to the keypad!! How clever!!)
I would love to delve into its sequels, especially the prequel about Mr. Benedict himself, only if I haven’t have this pile of adult non-fictions and science fictions glaring at me… nonetheless, it was a precious time for me to discover the joy of children’s literature.
The official website looks pretty cool, too: http://mysteriousbenedictsociety.com/index.html