THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, Trenton Lee Stewart. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2008

Dozens of children respond to an unusual newspaper advertisement and then are put through a series of intellectually challenging tests (which the readers enjoy as well). Four children complete them successfully and travel undercover to an isolated school. Here, children are being trained by a strange genius masterminding a plot to take over the world. Using their considerable gifts, the four must work together to uncover and defeat Mr. Curtain’s diabolical strategies.

This combination of narrative and riddles keep the readers’ attention. The characters are very interesting. But I kept wondering why one in particular, a grumpy little girl named Constance, was among those chosen. We learn her value in the end and it confirms to us the value of each person to society.

The book is rather lengthy, but entertaining, with lots of twists and turns. Perfect for the booklover among your grade-schoolers who is always needing something fresh to read. (This is part of a series. I have only read Book One, but I would imagine the rest are just as interesting.) The book sort of reminded me, in parts, of Roald Dahl with its characters who are a bit peculiar but very endearing.B