The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

Aug 02

This is the fourth in a series of four books: The Mysterious Benedict Society (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Review) The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (Review) Technically, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart is a prequel written after the trilogy (the first three above). This book tells the story of Nicholas Benedict as a child in the Stonetown Orphanage, or as it is currently called, “Child’s End” a nickname for “Rothschild’s End after the people who funded it originally. Nicholas Benedict is being shuffled from one orphanage to another. This new one is in Stonetown, later in the trilogy of the Mysterious Benedict Society, we become quiet acquainted to Stonetown and surrounding areas. Nicholas Benedict is nine years old and very precocious. Though, he doesn’t mean to be. He is extremely intelligent, insightful and observant. He is also plagued with narcolepsy triggered by strong emotions. He also suffers from terrible nightmares that often wake him panic-stricken in a cold sweat. To make his life even more awkward, Nicholas has a very bulbous nose that almost everyone notices immediately. The odds are stacked against him from the arrival at Child’s End. Here, he will face constant bullying, self-absorbed adults and mysteries he cannot ignore. He is ostracized and ridiculed but this doesn’t stop Nicholas from doing the right thing, time and time again. When hope has seemingly disappeared, Nicholas finds purpose in his struggle, discovering lifelong friendships and positive life views can thrive in any situation, no matter how dismal. Main Characters in The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict: Nicholas Benedict – A nine year old boy with keen observational skills, excellent deductive reasoning, a genius intellect, an extremely impressive vocabulary and a superb moral compass, Nicholas Benedict is the main character of this book. He has a photographic memory and can remember anything he reads. He is described in the book in the following way, “A tall skinny, towheaded nine-year-old with a whimsical mind, thread-bare clothes and an unfortunate nose. Indeed, his nose was so long and lumpy that it drew attention from his one good feature—his bright and impish green...

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The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Book Three)

Aug 02

This is the third in a series of four books: The Mysterious Benedict Society (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Review) The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Prisoner’s Dilemma is the third of four books by Trenton Lee Stewart. The first book review on The Mysterious Benedict Society is here — you should really read that review first, it has all the details of the characters involved and terms involved, this series has a lot of back stories which may make this review make less sense without the first one. (The other reviews you can see next to each one above).   New characters introduced in this book: Ms. Plugg — Another guard posted by the government. She likes the children and is dedicated to her job. She is a tough, stocky guard who had an oddly large and rectangular head “rather like a cinder block”. She remembers people’s names by giving them relevant nicknames in her head by their attributes or behaviors. She is loyal and steadfast in her duties. Mr. Covett S. Gaines – The newly appointed head of a new committee specifically gathered to deal with “all matters concerning the Whisperer.” Hertz — A new ten man…or at least new to us. He enjoys doing crossword puzzles with his gold pen, and is apparently afraid to touch the Whisperer. Described as swarthy and slight, with a birdlike face. In the third book of the series, The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Prisoner’s Dilemma, the children and their families live at Mr. Benedict’s house. The children are enjoying how close they are to one another and to their families but are fast growing bored. Of course, it doesn’t take long for the excitement to begin. The Whisperer is being protected and Mr. Benedict is continuing to use it to undo all the damage done by his evil twin brother, Ledroptha Curtain. And Mr. Curtain is chomping at the bit to get his masterpiece back. He will go to any lengths to do so. He devises a devious plan to distract the children and Mr. Benedict but I won’t...

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The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (Book Two)

Jun 23

This is the second in a series of four books: The Mysterious Benedict Society (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Review) The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Perilous Journey is the second in a series of four books by Trenton Lee Stewart. The first book review on The Mysterious Benedict Society is here — you should really read that review first, it has all the details of the characters involved and terms involved, this series has a lot of back stories which may make this review make less sense without the first one.   New characters introduced in this book: Moocho Brazos — Moocho Brazos is a friend of Kate’s from the days when she was in the circus. He was the circus’s Strong Man and looked every bit the part with his “enormous muscles, slicked-down hair and handlebar mustache,”  and yet has a “soft, melodious voice”  and wears a flowery apron over coveralls and house slippers. He is kind and loyal to Kate and Milligan. He is extremely strong and loves to bake pies, and is very good at it; he is a fantastic chef and baker. Moocho works on the farm with Kate and Milligan, taking care of a plethora of things. Madge — Madge is the peregrine falcon Milligan gave Kate as a birthday present. Kate has trained her and she follows Kate just above everywhere. Madge is extremely intelligent for a predatory bird and very fast (peregrine falcons are the fastest creatures on earth — reaching over 200 miles per hour when flying towards prey). Mr. Washington — Sticky’s father. Mr. Washington looks a lot like Sticky, just taller. He is tall, slender, and wears glasses. He doesn’t talk much but smiles a lot and is fond of the children and shows them by patting them on the shoulders. He is attentive to his wife and worries excessively, with her, about Sticky’s safety and well-being. Having forced Sticky to compete for money in intellectual competitions pressuring him to runaway — he is very sensitive to Sticky’s needs and not asking too much of him. The Washington’s...

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The Mysterious Benedict Society

Jun 22

  This is the first in a series of four books: The Mysterious Benedict Society  (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey  (Review) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma  (Review) The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict  (Review) This is a must-read series for anyone who enjoys reading junior fiction every now and again. The characters are likeable and you find yourself rooting for them through every chapter of every book. Let me start with the basics of the first book. Characters Nicholas Benedict a.k.a. Mr. Benedict — He places an ad in the newspaper asking, “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” He reluctantly wants to find gifted children to work on an important secret mission and sets out to form The Mysterious Benedict Society. Each child who answers his ad is invited to come take a series of seemingly arbitrary and strange tests, to which they have no idea what answers he might be looking for, but he is looking for exceptionally clever and honest children who possess special skills (logic, intuition, physical agility, intellect etc.) and soon he finds just the right four for the purpose — to stop his evil twin brother, Ledroptha Curtain, from using “The Whisperer” (a machine that can wipe people’s memories and make them susceptible to suggestions from Mr. Curtain). He intends to send the Mysterious Benedict Society to spy on his brother at Mr. Curtain’s Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (L.I.V.E.). Mr. Benedict and Mr. Curtain both have a special type of narcolepsy brought on by strong emotions. Mr. Benedict’s narcolepsy is triggered by emotions of love and happiness, often by laughter. Number Two — This is her code name because she resembles a pencil with her yellow complexion, red hair and she always wears yellow as well. I won’t tell you her real name (that would be a spoiler). She is one of two assistants to Mr. Benedict. She is rarely sleeps but must eat constantly to make up for it. She is always at Mr. Benedict’s side to catch him and ensure he does not hurt himself should he fall asleep. She took Mr. Benedict’s tests many years ago and has been...

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