Title: The Mysterious Benedict SocietyAuthor: Trenton Lee Stewart
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: March 7, 2007
AR Levels: Interest Level: 4th-8th, Book Level: 5.6, Points: 18.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/83369.The_Mysterious_Benedict_Society
In a nutshell: A strange advertisement in the local newspaper asks for extraordinary children to submit themselves to a series of peculiar, mind-bending tests, and after many children try and fail, four are left. Those four, each with their own particular intellectual "super power" form a top-secret spy group called "The Mysterious Benedict Society," which is headed by the mysterious Mr. Benedict himself, a genius in his own right, who suffers from narcolepsy and whose sleeping spells are brought on whenever he gets overexcited. Mr. Benedict gives the four children, Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance, a dangerous mission at a school for gifted children, where a despicable plot lurks beneath the surface.
I'd recommend it for grades: 5 to 8+
I'd recommend it to: Gifted education teachers. If you've been struggling to find a book for your most voracious readers (and they haven't already devoured this series), this is the book for them! They'll love all the logic puzzles they can solve for themselves, and the story portrays smart kids in a positive, kick-butt light! I wish this book had been around when I was a tween! I'd also recommend this to fans of Roald Dahl as it maintains some of the same quirkiness, and it includes clever young characters who could give many an adult a run for their money.
What I liked most about this book: I loved solving all the puzzles myself, and you will too! I think every kid has a spy phase, and this book allows you to get in touch with your inner detective. Plus, the main characters are just so loveable, each in their own way. I think every kid can probably find themselves in one of the four main characters.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): I love Constance's rhymes. They are hilarious, and she might be my favorite character.
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars...and 5 stars for the other four books in the series as well - The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (prequel), The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (book two), The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (book three), and Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums (puzzles-only book). Book two is my personal favorite.