Review of the Day: The Mysterious Benedict Society (Part Two)
(CONTINUED FROM PART ONE)
In terms of the sequel, one person I discussed the book with said of it, "I don’t feel I need to go back to that world." I agree, in a way. Stewart wraps up his loose ends nicely. Unlike some series for kids, you aren’t left with many holes or gaps in the plot. There is certainly room for a follow-up, but if you don’t read it you won’t feel you’ve missed something. The important thing to remember is that clever kids like clever tales. For children who like everything from "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin to The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, by Eric Berlin, this is the book for them. Consistently fun and fine, the book whizzes through its 400+ pages so fast that you’ll be shocked at how quickly you find yourself at the end.
Notes on the Book Flap: I love that there’s a Morse Code message hidden on the flaps. Of course, if any child looses the cover, they won’t be able to solve the mystery on the final page of the book. Hopefully that will not happen often.
Notes on the Cover: Whoo-boy. All right now this… this is a problem. On the outset it looks like a pretty cool cover, right? The illustrations both here and inside are done by one Carson Ellis, who has drawn album covers for bands like The Decemberists n’ such. That is all well and good. So I’m admiring the cover when I notice something. Maybe this got changed in subsequent printings of the book but if so they certainly haven’t changed it anywhere online. I am referring to the character of Sticky Washington. Sticky has dark skin in the book. Now look on the cover. It took me a while to figure out why I wasn’t seeing Sticky there. I was, but they’ve bleached him out. In short, they made Sticky white. What on earth? Now whose brilliant idea was this? “Hey guys, about that kid who isn’t white? Why don’t we just forget to color him in when we print the book? That’s cool, right?” Ye gods, this is an oversight! Look at him! He’s paler than Constance! Talk about a bad jacket art move. For shame.
Other Blog Reviews (Proving That I Am the Last to See It): Kids Lit, Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Becky’s Book Reviews, Chasing Ray, Pixie Stix Kids, Wands and Worlds, Semicolon, A Patchwork of Books, Outside of a Cat, Renee’s Book of the Day, Zubon Book Reviews, BC Books, Welcome to My Tweendom, Secret Fun Blog, Library and Literary Miscellany, Shalee’s Diner, So Many Books So Little Time, and many many more.
Web Reviews: Kidsreads.com, San Francisco Chronicle, and School Library Journal (of the audio version).
- I don’t tend to promote book websites (seems a bit like overkill if I do) but The Curiosity Chronicle is rather nicely done. Kudos to the creators.
- Here’s an interview with the author.
- And Carson Ellis has a lovely little website and YouTube video.
Filed under: Reviews
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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