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THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY

By Trenton Lee Stewart (Author) , Carson Ellis (Illustrator)

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: March 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-316-05777-0
Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Running long but hung about with cantrips to catch clever readers, Stewart’s children’s debut pits four exceptional youngsters, plus a quartet of adult allies, against a deranged inventor poised to inflict an involuntary “Improvement” on the world. Recruited by narcoleptic genius Mr. Benedict through a set of subtle tests of character, Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance are dispatched to the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened to find out how its brilliant founder, Ledroptha Curtain, is sending out powerful mental messages that are sowing worldwide discord. Gifted with complementary abilities that range from Reynie’s brilliance with detail to Constance’s universally infuriating contrariness, the four pursue their investigation between seemingly nonsensical lessons and encounters with sneering upper-class “Executives,” working up to a frantic climax well-stocked with twists and sudden reversals. Low in physical violence, while being rich in moral and ethical issues, as well as in appealingly complex characters and comedy sly and gross, this Lemony Snicket–style outing sprouts hooks for hearts and minds both—and, appropriately, sample pen-and-ink illustrations that look like Brett Helquist channeling Edward Gorey. (Fantasy. 11-13)