ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD Looking for special opportunities? When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mindbending tests And you, dear listener, can test your wits right alongside them But in the end just four very special children will succeed Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all? Welcome to the mysterious benedict society What a delightful story! It was very difficult to choose a shelf for this book it's not truly fantasy, but its not just adventure or mystery either Perhaps a little SciFithan fantasy? Well, anyway, it was a wonderful book about four children who agree to help save the world It sounds a little overdone, I know, but it’s really quite sweet and charming Wellwritten and with loveable characters and a kindness throughout the book I was enthralled from the first page The book isn’t incredibly indepth – it isn’t Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings – but it is just one book The characters and plot, while both intriguing and well rounded, do not have quite as many layers as some other works However, that said, I still loved the book! The friendships were wonderful and it was so much fun solving the puzzles along with the characters And, yes, I was still surprised at – not entirely the ending itself – but how the ending came about.The letters Reynie writes are delightful, and the “morals” of the story are apparent without being annoying If you’re at all curious as to what the Mysterious Benedict Society is, then don’t hesitate to find out!:)(5 stars to the beginning 4 stars to the later half)******We started reading this last night (Katie and I) and I'm so looking forward to the journey! So far the style is intelligent and charming, and the characters 3deminsional and yet somehow sweetly simplistic However, I am only about 10 pages into the book; I feel like I’m coming late to the party, since a lot of readers have already discovered this series, but I enjoyed it very much great cast of characters, lots of cool puzzles and mysteries The book made me feel nostalgic, because it reminded me of some of the better children’s books I grew up with, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Phantom Tollbooth Stewart’s storytelling has an oldfashioned elegance to it, and yes, I mean that in the best possible way! The second book in the series is now out, and I will definitely be picking it up. Please read the following sentence as if I am singing it, joyfully:IT’S THE BEST BOOK IN THE WORLDDDDDD.Also, I hope you mentally gave me a beautiful singing voice I’m not saying I have one but I am saying that’s the polite thing to do.Anyway: THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD I love it so much oh my god Unless you are new here (in which case, welcome and you have made a grave mistake), you know how I feel about middle grade How I feel about middle grade is this: I LOVE IT.Middle grade is like young adult if young adult wasn’t so dramatic, and didn’t have a million boring/dramatic/unnecessary subplots, and wasn’t legally required under the jurisdiction of the United Nations to contain a romance.In other words, if everything that sucked so hard about YA didn’t exist.A utopia!Middle grade adventure is especially good, and this book is the most especially good example of the most especially good of the most especially good.Even just writing about it makes me so happy I can barely type out rational thoughts!!! (Don’t say what else is new Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s nice See: the beginning of this review.)The Mysterious Benedict Society is actionpacked It is also riddlespacked, and mysterypacked, and excitementpacked, and friendshippacked, and character developmentpacked, and knowledgepacked, and everything that is wonderful in this worldpacked.I loved it when I was ten I loved it when I reread it in early high school And I love it now, when my opinions are actually trustworthy (Ten year old me liked every book she read and early high school me wore like 18 layers of mascara every day so don’t go around listening to either of them.)Rereading this was a pleasure even while I was in the midst of a reading slump for the ages, which is proof that it’s good all the time no matter who you are!!It’s also pretty shockingly diverse, for 2007 Like, could give most YA fantasy published in 2018 a run for its money.The friendships and family in this are so wonderful, and the characters themselves are lil sweethearts you just want to hug, and the whole thing is such a tensionfilled actionpacked mindblowing event that you’ll never want it to end.Now I want to reread the sequels.Bottom line: THIS BOOK IS THE BEST BOOK AND I RECOMMEND IT UNIVERSALLY Also, by “recommend,” I mean “will foist it upon you by force if necessary.”IS THERE A BOOK IN THE WORLD I LOVE MORE THAN THIS BOOK?the answer: probably no.buddy (re)read with 1/3 of my kik inbox, even tho i'm not 100% sure if she's started yet How do librarians decide what children's book they want to read next? Well, there are professional reviews, online reviews, and good oldfashioned word of mouth And when it came to The Mysterious Benedict Society, I picked up this 486page tome, turned it about, and then needed a quickie confirmation from somebody as to whether or not I should shell out a significant portion of time to read this puppy As it happened, a librarian I knew and trusted assured me that it wasn't all that good and that I shouldn't waste my days Fair enough I gave away my copy and decided to forget all about it But then the book's name kept cropping up left and right Oh, I should really read it! Oh, it's really good! Oh, you haven't read it? What's wrong with you? Eventually, the pressure got to be too much I couldn't take it anyAs far as I could ascertain I was the only children's librarian in the WORLD who hadn't read The Mysterious Benedict Society, and that was going to have to change So I borrowed a library copy, took it home, and fell in love Once in a while you just want to read a book that's fun This book is precisely that Smart and thoroughly a good good read.Reynie Muldoon doesn't think of himself as extraordinary He thinks of himself as weird and out of place An orphan, Reynie and his tutor one day spot an advertisement that reads, ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES? He is, as it happens, and that means taking a series of tests Odd tests Odd, increasingly peculiar tests that go beyond the classroom, or even the realm of the normal By the end of the puzzles Reynie has passed, as have three other rather remarkable children Sticky Washington is a bit of a bookworm, but the kind of kid who never forgets a single fact that he reads Kate Wetherall is an athletic type who carries a handy bucket with her wherever it is that she goes And Constance Contraire is very small, very rude, and very stubborn Together, these kids have been recruited by a Mr Benedict to infiltrate the very prestigious Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and discover what it is that the school's devious head is planning They know that it's evil and dangerous, but beyond that they are out of information So it is that our four heroes become spies and set out to save the world using their very individual abilities.I've heard this book referred to as two different stories smooshed together into a single tale That's not exactly how I'd chose to describe it, but it's a fair assessment This actually isn't a problem either If you like the first portion then you are bound to like the second I was fond of the writing too Never twee or coy, it comes right to the point of things without sacrificing emotion or character It can get away with sentences like, She announced her age right away, for children consider their ages every bit as important as their names because they are straightforward and true Stewart can get stuff across without a bunch of overwrought flowery language Their mouths went dry as bones, needs no further explanation In terms of the sequel, one person I discussed the book with said of it, I don't feel I need to go back to that world I agree, in a way Stewart wraps up his loose ends nicely Unlike some series for kids, you aren't left with many holes or gaps in the plot There is certainly room for a followup, but if you don't read it you won't feel you've missed something The important thing to remember is that clever kids like clever tales For children who like everything from The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin to The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, by Eric Berlin, this is the book for them Consistently fun and fine, the book whizzes through its 400 pages so fast that you'll be shocked at how quickly you find yourself at the end.