A strange add in the newspaper catches young Reynie Muldoon’s eye. The orphan answers it and takes a series of odd tests. So begins his adventure….
Today I am sharing another fun chapter book, The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart. It tells the story of four children, each gifted in their own way, as they battle the group L.I.V.E. in a bid to save children everywhere. For one reason or another, all four children find themselves orphaned, and as they bond together to defeat the bad guys, each finds a family.
I love this book for a lot of reasons, most notably, the excellent vocabulary work it promotes. Words like “inconsequential”, “diminutive”, and “imprudent” are sprinkled throughout the book. I like to use this book to teach determining definitions in context. There are also a lot of riddles and logic puzzles to solve along the way.
What do kids love about this book? The characters, the adventures, the twists and turns. When I read this with my 6th graders when I was teaching, I had to lock the books up to make sure they didn’t read ahead! They spent many hours trying to use the clues to solve the puzzle themselves!
Internet resources for the book abound, from the official Mysterious Benedict Society website with puzzles, games, and other resources, to quizzes on GoodReads and even this PDF with questions and answers.
Of course, The Mysterious Benedict Society is also well suited to written and oral narrations, discussion, and even projects. When I read it with my son this year, he will have a few hands-on projects to do, like making “trading cards” for the major characters with details about their personalities, making “wanted posters” for the bad guys, and creating a mock radio ad to recruit other members to join the Benedicts! You could also have your kids draw scenes from the book, stage important scenes using lego figures or army men, and even create maps based on the action in the book.
Aside from the vocabulary, this book is easy to read and I would recommend it for 5th grade and up (or younger if you want to read it aloud). It is a very LONG book, with about 40 chapters and around 400 pages, so plan some time if you want to savor it, or hand it over to your avid reader and let them finish it at their own pace. Since the original Benedict Society was written, Trenton Lee Stewart has added two more books to the series, so if your child enjoys this one, they may be inspired to read the other books too.
If you have a mystery and adventure loving reader at home, or a reluctant reader looking for something fun and exciting to read, check out The Mysterious Benedict Society! Join me next week to hear about another great book. If you have a recommendation for another fun mystery, let me know in the comments. And feel free to share or pin this post to share it with others!