Parents' Guide to

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Smart kids, lessons in Mysterious Benedict Society prequel.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 9+

A Sentimental Education

Ask a child reader how he or she knows that the story was set in the past, and what are the things that we take for granted that are not there. Nicholas begins the novel as someone sensitive to other people's emotions and body language. He uses this knowledge, telling the bullies, "I see the future." Yet he is also a very lonely boy, because of his knowledge, his physical failings, and his lack of a family. At first he wants treasure so he can escape from everybody else. Yet by the end he comes to see that he does need others, not just as instruments toward an end, but as fellow creatures. This "education" arises naturally out of the plot and setting.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 10+

Good series - like this author

My sons really enjoys this series. It is one of the few newer kids series that is actually appropriate for kids. I will gladly allow my child to read this instead of all the garbage they are feeding kids out there these days. Way to go Trenton Lee Stewart.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (6):

Kids who like The Mysterious Benedict Society more for the smarty-pants kids than for the crazy spies and gadgetry will dig into this prequel easily. Meeting him first as a plaid-clad and very generous adult, you just knew that Mr. Benedict must have been a fascinating kid. At age 9, he's got Sticky Washington's ability to read and remember absolutely everything, combined with Reynie's conscientiousness and contemplative side. His sidekicks make great through-thick-and-thin friends. As they put their heads together in the cool nighttime hideout of an abandoned observatory, the reader keeps guessing about the big mystery right along with them.

Like most of the Benedict Society series, expect the buildup to be full of detail that can slow the story down. And some readers may miss having bigger adversaries than three pig-headed bullies. But the twists, turns, and surprises hold this mansion treasure hunt together. And Nicholas' eureka moments at the end will make readers eager to spend more time with him -- even if they have to put up with his longwindedness. If he's this brilliant at 9, who knows what mysteries he could solve at 10 or 12?

Book Details

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