Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart - ADVISABLE

Stewart, Trenton Lee.  The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, 470 pages.  Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group), 2012.  $17.99.  Language: G; Sexual Content: G; Violence: G.  Before he brought four kids together to help save the world, Nicholas Benedict was just a nine year-old genius...with narcolepsy.  In this prequel, the reader finds Nicholas at a train station, about to meet the director of the new orphanage he is about to go to.  At this new place, he has to deal with bullies, peers who are too afraid to stand up to the bullies (so they ignore Nicholas), and adults who are, well, idiots.  But it is also at this new orphanage where he learns about a mystery that just might change his life.  And as a genius, he sets out to solve it and get free of the oppressive life he lives in.  I really enjoyed the book.  So many books out today are heavy on action and light on everything else.  The Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy is written at a higher level and it is not just one crazy situation after another (don't get me wrong, I love those books, but it's also nice to have to think some too).  This book has great back story about Nicholas Benedict, but it does not need to be read in conjunction with the other titles.  This one stands alone perfectly.    The only reason why I am not marking it as essential is because there were times that I missed having the four main characters of the trilogy.  I especially missed Kate and Constance more than anything.  While Nicholas does become friends with other children, he is still mostly alone, and I think it makes the book lose a little of the charm of the first three.  Still I loved the ending and I am happy to own this book.  There are some good potential lessons on how to deal with bullies.  It's a sweet book.  EL, MS - ADVISABLE.  Brent Smith, Reading Teacher

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