Friday, July 20, 2012

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, Trenton Lee Stewart

The train station at Pebbleton, dark and sooty though it was, glistened in the mist. Electric lamps above the platform cast their light upon a thousand reflecting surfaces: the puddles along the tracks, the streaked windows of the station house, the umbrellas hoisted over huddle, indistinct figures on the platform. To a person of whimsical mind, the scene might resemble something from a tale, a magical gathering in a dark wood, the umbrellas looming like toadstools over fairy folk.

You may have heard of The Mysterious Benedict Society, a book which I love (as well as the two series.) But before the Mysterious Benedict Society, there was a boy named Nicholas Benedict. This book is about his childhood, and it is a great story on its own, though it also provides some insight into Mr. Benedict in the other series. Trenton Lee Stewart has a very distinctive writing style, which was apparent in this book as well. Nicholas, a nine-year-old orphan, gets sent to a new orphanage, just as bad as the old one, with vicious bullies and selfish adults, but also a strange secret: there is supposedly a treasure hidden somewhere in the orphanage. You see, the orphanage was founded by Rothschild (incidentally, a real famous rich Jewish family), and part of the Rothschild inheritance was never accounted for. This could be just the thing Nicholas and his new friend John are looking for.

I loved the characters in this one. Like Sticky Washington, a character in The Mysterious Benedict Society, Nicholas has a prodigious memory and a propensity to use long words. And like Reynie Muldoon, he's very observant and good at solving puzzles. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict was just as good as The Mysterious Benedict Society, and I loved it.

Read The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict:
  • if you love The Mysterious Benedict Society series
  • if you like mysteries
  • if you like books set in orphanages
  • if you like books about very smart children (outwitting adults)
470 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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