person holding red jigsaw puzzle

The Mysterious Benedict Society is superb and makes you think outside the box! I was reminded of this fabulous book when I saw the T.V. show being advertised on Disney+. It took me back to the summer of my childhood when we read The Mysterious Benedict Society together as a family. My mom would read aloud while my siblings and I listened and asked questions. I was either 8 or 9 at the time. It was a great book to help build my vocabulary, my critical thinking skills and learn how to get along with my siblings. Maybe that was the reason why my mom picked that book in the first place.

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The Mysterious Benedict Society Synopsis

person holding red jigsaw puzzle

Reynie Muldoon is an exceptional child with a brilliant mind for puzzles. He discovers an ad in the newspaper for gifted children looking for special opportunities. Next comes a series of tests to narrow down hundreds of children to the best. Four very diverse but very gifted children succeed. Now they will go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could face. They have to go undercover at an institute specifically for gifted children. They face both physical and mental trials where the only way to succeed is by relying on one another. But will their newfound friendship pass the most intense test of all? Reynie isn’t sure, but he wants to find out.

The Mysterious Benedict Society Parent Guide

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Language: None! There is no vulgar or suggestive language in this book!

Violence: G There is an attempted kidnapping, use of tranquilizer darts, and one scene of intensity where a child is physically injured. The scene of the child getting in a fight is short and is more descriptive of their injuries than the fight. The conflict happens at the end, and your focus is drawn to more pressing details.

Adult Content: None! 

Reading Level: Grades 4-8

ATOS Reading Level: 5.6

Potentially Touchy Topics in The Mysterious Benedict Society

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Each of the four children comes from difficult circumstances. We learn about these different backgrounds as we get to know the various characters. The main characters’ morals are also tested multiple times throughout the story. As these moments come up, they can be great opportunities for discussion.

  • Abusive/ neglectful parents
  • Child abandonment
  • Cheating on a test
  • Runaway from home
  • Betraying friends
  • Facing your fears
  • Loss of hope
  • Self-doubt
  • Dysfunctional family

This book is stunning!

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The Mysterious Benedict Society is full of mental puzzles, advanced vocabulary and is great for an advanced reader. This is a different type of book with little to no action, but there are still many things to ponder as the friends face moral and ethical dilemmas. I love that this book revolves around friendship and working together with many different people, some of which can be difficult to work with.

Some parts are dense and slow, but it picks up pretty quickly. There are so many twists and turns! It is hard to predict where the story will go next and is perfect for advanced readers or readers who are tired of over predictability. 

Things to take away from this book

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The Mysterious Benedict Society is packed full of great lessons to take away. One I’ve already mentioned is working together with people who are very different from yourself. Each character has a moment where they realize they need help. They can’t succeed in their mission by themselves, and they need the help of their other friends.

Another great lesson from this book is embracing what makes you unique and different from everyone else. Each of the characters has a distinctive gift! One of them doesn’t seem like a vital part until the very end when you finally discover what makes them special. The only way for their mission to succeed is by each of them being themselves. They aren’t told to become one particular way. Instead, they are encouraged to discover what makes them different and embrace it.

My Recommendations

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Read this book! This is a fantastic work of art that will make your young reader think. Plus, it is a perfect book to read aloud at home or school. The Mysterious Benedict Society would also be a great book to teach in middle school. This is the first of a four-book series and is 497 pages! Don’t let the number of pages scare you off. Every page is worth it, and this is a great first exploration into longer books. You can get your copy of The Mysterious Benedict Society on Amazon.

If you like this book, you would also really like Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, and Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo.

Happy Reading!

Emily