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The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (The Mysterious Benedict Society) Hardcover – April 10, 2012

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Frequently Bought Together

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (The Mysterious Benedict Society) + The Mysterious Benedict Society: Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums + The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316176192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316176194
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-8-Trenton Lee Stewart has written a prequel (Little, Brown, 2012) to his "The Mysterious Benedict Society" series with the titular character being a narcoleptic plagued by nightmares as well as a genius with an eidetic memory. Nine-year-old Nicholas is transferred to a new orphanage called Child's End. The children there are mistreated and the orphanage is poorly run, but Nicholas also learns that the former owner had a treasure which both Nicholas and the orphanage director believe is hidden in the house or on the grounds. While avoiding bullies, Nicholas puts his talents to work to find the treasure before the director. The minor characters, like the orphanage staff, are colorful. Nicholas's first friend, John Cole, is the true role model here-gutsy and self-sacrificing. Nicholas finally learns to put others first and uses his many gifts to save the orphanage and improve the conditions. Del Roy's voice is warm and gravelly, but may not compensate for the slow pacing, plodding story line, and an unlikely climax. While the story stands alone, it will primarily appeal to those already invested in the series.-C.A. Fehmel, St. Louis County Library, MOα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


* "Gives readers a reason to fall in love with the series all over again...[with] adventures, danger, cleverness, dry wit, and good-hearted characters at the center of the action."—Booklist, starred review

"Stewart balances the elements of his story beautifully, using the mystery puzzle to drive the plot while heightening tension through encounters with the Spiders and deepening the tenderness by following Nicholas's emotional development...[as] Mysterious Benedict Society fans have come to expect (and love) from master storyteller Stewart."
The Horn Book

"Stewart fills in the back story on the narcoleptic genius founder of the Mysterious Benedict Society...[with]...admirable insight."—Kirkus Reviews

"Fans will be thrilled with the rich backstory of a beloved character."—School Library Journal

More About the Author

TRENTON LEE STEWART, author of the award-winning, New York Times bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society series and the adult novel Flood Summer, lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with his wife and two sons.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 125 customer reviews
Then I read the next page.
John McEvan
Trenton Lee Stewart is an AWESOME ( i mean it) writer and i've read all of the Mysterious Benedict Society books an i have the game/ puzzle book along with this book.
Amy M. Harriman
It wa such a good mystery and it was very well paced an written. this is amazing but i just wished it was longer and had a second book.
T. Nguyen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Sheila (NJ) on April 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you haven't already been introduced to the Mysterious Benedict Society feel free to start with this witty prequel that details the early life of Nicholas Benedict, a genius orphan with narcolepsy who becomes the patriarchal figure in the later trilogy. Even without knowing a thing about the other books, you will quickly be pulled into Nicholas's world.

The author does use some stereotypical characters for the bullies and the staff at the orphanage, but somehow I was not bothered in the least by this as I got pulled into the mystery. The descriptive language may be a bit much for some, but I enjoyed the pictures it painted in my mind. Most children (and some adults) will need a dictionary close by when reading this book. I have to say I wasn't expecting to run across the words "vouchsafe" or "ebullient" in a children's book. This is book for a confident reader, not for a child who just switched to chapter books. It's also a lot of fun for an adult like me who refuses to grow up.

Although Nicholas is only 9 in this book, he comes across as much older due to his intellect and insight. I found myself wishing I was as smart as this precocious child. Nicholas looks at the world in wonder, and you will find yourself looking for patterns and being more observant of your surroundings after reading this book. Simple objects may have uses you haven't thought of yet. The story is set in an old mansion that was turned into an orphanage and I'm still wishing I could find a manor to explore after finishing the book.

In the beginning of the book Nicholas is quite cynical for his young age, which is to be expected when one considers what he has been through.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. I have read each of the Mysterious Benedict Society books at least three times so far and was very excited when this came out. I read the whole thing in one night! It is not really a prequel, although it takes place before the other books, as this book takes place when Mr. Benedict was a child and does not mention any other characters from The Mysterious Benedict Society. I am glad I read The Mysterious Benedict Society books first, because without reading them I would not have appreciated some parts. I liked how Mr. Benedict (Nicholas then) reused and fixed things for his own purposes and had a perfect memory, as far as he knew. It is surprising and exciting, and I expect I will read it again.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Deanna Blanchard on April 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This prequel to the Mysterious Benedict Society series is wonderful. It's part Oliver Twist, part Agatha Cristie. You get genius orphan Nicholas Benedict, who unfortunately falls asleep at the most awful times. Add in a poor orphanage... a trio of dreaded bullies... a hidden treasure... and a secret friendship, and you have a tale most kids won't be able to put down. I read children's books so I can review them on my website - and this is the best one I've read in ages.

I won't say anything more... wouldn't want to spoil the fun for you. Just read it yourself and see.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Baker on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I met Trenton Lee Stewart after a concert in central Arkansas several years ago. It was a funny experience because I had not read much of the Mysterious Benedict Society (if any of it) and I knew he was famous for it but couldn't think of anything to say to him. I wanted to smack my forehead afterward because it was silly to have a chance to rub shoulders with a literary celebrity but waste the opportunity by several moments of silence.

Anyway. I read the MBS series and thought they were good. A little hard to get into sometimes, but my sons love them and have read them multiple times. But then they persuaded me to set aside my grownup fare and read THIS book, insisting it was Stewart's best yet. I read the first chapter and found that I couldn't put it down. It has a narrative pace that is much more compelling than the MBS books. Its characters are more real. Its plot has neatly executed intricacies that satisfy. Its message is uplifting and inspiring.

I agree with my sons -- this is Trenton Lee Stewart's best work thus far! And now if I were to meet him again, I would have plenty to say to him, including to express my hope that it has been submitted to the Newbery committee. It is every bit as good as Louis Sachar's "Holes"; in fact I like it even more because of its power to make me want to be better, kinder -- to use my gifts to help those I care about, like Nicholas Benedict.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Those who have read and loved THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY and its sequels know Nicholas Benedict as an enigmatic man, a narcoleptic and a genius who kindly inspires his young protégés. They also know him as an old (or at least older) man. But what was Nicholas Benedict like as a boy? And how and when did he develop the abiding love of mysteries, puzzles and problem-solving that defined the rest of his life?
The answers to those questions --- not to mention a rollicking good mystery plot --- lie at the center of THE EXTRAORDINARY EDUCATION OF NICHOLAS BENEDICT, a prequel to Trenton Lee Stewart's three previous novels and a thoroughly entertaining story in its own right.

When we first meet the nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict, he is on his way to a new orphanage, one that promises to manage his narcolepsy and its attendant night terrors better than his previous lodgings. Nicholas, whose prodigious intellect and impeccable memory belie his childlike optimism, wants to believe that this new location will offer him a new beginning, away from the bullying and cruelty he has encountered at his previous schools.

Far from a fresh start, however, Rothschild's End (or "Child's End," as it is known) seems to provide an even worse environment. Before he even arrives, Nicholas, who looks younger than he actually is, is targeted by the resident gang, known as the Spiders. And Mr. Collum, the head of the school, seems to think that only the most draconian measures --- which include bricking in Nicholas's window and locking his door from the outside --- can save our narcoleptic hero from himself. Even worse, Nicholas is barred from utilizing the school's amazing library, which is "the most exciting spectacle of his life.
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