Itty bitty librarian’s book review: Trenton Lee Stewart’s the Mysterious Benedict Society

We read Alice books that are far beyond toddler appropriate. In part I do this because my own parents read me whatever they were reading (and let me read whatever I found on the attic shelves, for better or worse). As a result, I grew up as a lover of books and never felt there was much difference between age-appropriate or not. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” scared me. “The Scarlet Letter” made for a lot of lingering questions, but I definitely got a healthy dose of vocabulary and literature.

IMG_5558We also read chapter books to Alice so we can enjoy more complex plot lines as a family. Alice has recently started to ask questions about various characters and to draw pictures of them doing various things–so the effect seems positive.

jpegThe Mysterious Benedict Society¬†was fun, clever and very long. It was nice to find a mystery, since it’s by far my favorite genre personally. I also love to read aloud and the multiple characters made for great opportunities. (My dream is to read books on tape).

The basic plot is: a group of “gifted” and diverse orphan/runaway children are chosen to make a “team” of spies to her tithe bottom of some disturbing disappearances and a secretive school on an island. After some training they’re dispatched to be enrolled at the school, all the while uncovering secrets and reporting (via morse code) back to their leader, Mr. Benedict.

I was telling a fellow mommy friend I’ve always wondered if Alice is even paying attention or retaining any information from our novel-time. During this book she actually started to single out characters and ask me to see “a picture of Kate” or “why did Rainey do that?”

It’s obviously getting through, so we’ll keep it up, despite the fact that she often plays or runs in and out of the room during story-time.

Oh-and Moses and I likes this one too. We can’t wait to start the next one in the series, but we have a few new ones to read first. Next review is “Flora and Ulysses.”