Monday, September 22, 2014

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart

Because of his extraordinary intelligence and his narcolepsy, Nicholas Benedict feels like an outsider, especially at his new orphanage called ’Child’s End—once the manor of millionaires Mr. and Mrs. Rothschild. Soon after his arrival, Nicholas hears rumors about an unclaimed treasure left behind by Mrs. Rothschild. By working with his two new friends, John—a fellow orphan—and Violet—a neighboring farmer’s daughter—the three children uncover several clues about the Rothschild treasure. When Nicholas loses John to adoption and the treasure clues stagnate, Nicholas runs away.

Stewart does it again with this masterfully written prequel to his Mysterious Benedict Society series. Stewart explores two themes in the story: adults and friendship. First, because of his life in orphanages, Nicholas lost his faith in adults. When Nicholas decides that adults can be good, the treasure clues finally fall into place to reveal the Rothschild's unselfish charity. Secondly, Nicholas learns that friendship cannot be a one-sided relationship. At first, Nicholas only wants the treasure to escape his life at the orphanage. Once he put others needs before his own, Nicholas finds true happiness and purpose to his life. A beautifully written story that is sure to become a classic in children’s literature. 

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