Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

So I might be the last reader in the Kidlitosphere to read The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, but I did and that is all that matters. Right?
I need to say right here, this is not going to be a summary of the story. You can get that anywhere. In fact, I almost liked not having any idea what I was getting into with this book. I left a lot of the suspense just that, suspense.
As I was reading, I found myself constantly thinking of Harry Potter. I know people hate being compared to Harry Potter, but that is what I thought as I read. I kept seeing the themes of sticking together, friends helping friends, and feelings of belonging to a bigger purpose. I really liked that about the story. What I also liked was the feeling I got as I was reading. That feeling that if I put the book down, I would miss something important. There was so much suspense! A good suspense, though. Not a suspense that something bad would happen, but more of "How will they figure this one out?" Because for whatever reason, I always thought every situation would have a silver lining. Although they did not always solve everything with a silver lining, each end was always tied up neatly.
I am REALLY not sure this is a fifth grade book. I hate to say that because I know it could be, but I also know my fifth grade students. Much of the vocabulary and references are going to go right over their head. I think it has potential to be a great read aloud. In fact it recently won the E.B. White Read aloud Award. However, you would have to have a LARGE CHUNK of time each day for read aloud. Having only 20 minutes four days a week myself, I don't see that happening for me.
Am I ready for a sequel? Bring it on! But what could possibly happen next?
Check out the Curiosity Chronicles (Great fun!)
Other Reviews:
Becky's Book Reviews
Fuse #8 Production (Part One) (Part Two)


Barbara O'Connor said...

I listened to this one during some long commutes. A really fun story! Totally enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I agree with you. I can not see my 6th graders understanding/enjoying this story. I tried it on a few of my higher readers and it just didn't grab them. I do think it would be a great read aloud, but you are right about needing a large chunk of time to devote to it!