Sunday, February 21, 2010

Books to Treasure

I just finished immersing myself in a series of books which I think, are worth to keep for the next generation to read.

The Mysterious Benedict Society. So imaginative, and has captivating plots. A rich story about friendship, working together, and coping to live with others though sometimes they can be annoying.

I love each of the main characters:

  • Reynard 'Reynie' Muldoon. An orphan who is good at practical problem solving. Very observant, can read between the lines. Often looked at by his friends for his ability to make the complicated, simple.
  • George Washington, or Sticky. A fast reader, reads everything, and everything that he reads, sticks in his mind. Hence the nickname. He knows everything that's in every written material. He has photographic memory. But different from Reynie who is very calm, Sticky is a nervous boy. Polishing his glasses when he is nervous is his habit.
  • Kate Wetherall. Very resourceful, athletic teen. She carries a bucket filled with all sorts of things - from a Swiss army knife to a bag of marbles. She is fearless, and will fight with anyone who is trying to harm her or her friends
  • Constance Contraire. A two years old with such intelligence. She also has a psychic mind - able to detect things before they happen. But being a two year old, she is also stubborn, and sometimes projects herself as someone who lacks manners.

These four geniuses met in the Mysterious Benedict Society - formed by a Mr. Nicholas Benedict, or Mr. Benedict. They passed several tests (described meticulously in the first book) that Mr. Benedict developed to screen those who could be part of this group. One of the questions that I really loved in that test was: Do you enjoy watching TV? (or something in that relation, I forgot what the actual question was). And these four kids’ answer was NO. Oh how I adored that part!. To me it’s a support to my belief that kids who enjoy doing other things more than watching TV, will have a lot more in their heads.

Mr. Benedict himself is a brilliant thinker. But he is not only a genius; he is also compassionate, and eager to teach the kids about how to live this life with a heart and not just with a brain.

The society was formed to fight a Ledrophta Curtain, who was actually Mr. Benedict’s twin brother who was separated at birth.

In the first book, Mr. Curtain wanted to rule the world by erasing everyone’s memory with a machine called The Whisperer. And so the four kids, with Mr. Benedict, his two assistants and a secret agent named Milligan (who later was found to be Kate’s father), had to put up quite a strategy and real fights to abort Mr. Curtain’s evil scheme.


I have finished reading the second book, which was as captivating as the first one. These books are filled with interesting riddles, and puzzles, and cute little dramas of the kids when they got on each other’s nerves. Especially when Constance threw some of her not-so-great moods, being a toddler. The dynamic between the four personalities, as well as between the kids and the adults around them, is so touching as well as it is mind-opening. How the adults treat each kid with respect – when sometimes kids are ‘seen but not heard’. How Mr. Benedict always tries to tell the kids a lesson or two about life, and about people, when they are confused and scared.

I really recommend this series to be kept ready in your bookshelf. If your kids love adventure, I am sure they will love them.

If they don’t, or you havent' got kids, well, you will still be able to enjoy it. It’s a dreamland that we have forgotten to immerse in thanks to our duties. To me it’s a reminder to step back and just let my mind wander off. To remember what I felt when I pretended to be a pirate when I was a child. It’s simply delightful.

the second book - reunion after a year of the first adventure, that led the kids to yet another adventure

I have not read this third book, but am sure it will be as captivating as the first two books...

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