Reviews for Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict : Library Edition

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 September

Gr 4-8--Trenton Lee Stewart has written a prequel (Little, Brown, 2012) to his "The Mysterious Benedict Society" series with the titular character being a narcoleptic plagued by nightmares as well as a genius with an eidetic memory. Nine-year-old Nicholas is transferred to a new orphanage called Child's End. The children there are mistreated and the orphanage is poorly run, but Nicholas also learns that the former owner had a treasure which both Nicholas and the orphanage director believe is hidden in the house or on the grounds. While avoiding bullies, Nicholas puts his talents to work to find the treasure before the director. The minor characters, like the orphanage staff, are colorful. Nicholas's first friend, John Cole, is the true role model here--gutsy and self-sacrificing. Nicholas finally learns to put others first and uses his many gifts to save the orphanage and improve the conditions. Del Roy's voice is warm and gravelly, but may not compensate for the slow pacing, plodding story line, and an unlikely climax. While the story stands alone, it will primarily appeal to those already invested in the series.--C.A. Fehmel, St. Louis County Library, MO

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