The Mysterious Benedict Society


Trenton Lee Stewart

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


A newspaper ad reads, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (L.I.V.E.), where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. In order to be selected, children had to pass several tests. Which test did you like the best? How well do you think you’d do on it?
  2. Four children passed, Reynie, Sticky, Constance and Kate. Each had unique talents to offer the team. Which child would you like to be and why?
  3. Why did Reynie thank Mr. Benedict for selecting him for a dangerous job? Would you have thanked him?
  4. Did you notice anything interesting about some of the place or character names?
  5. Everyone in the book was an orphan and had no family. Yet, this book was all about family. How can that be? What do you think makes a family?
  6. What were the rules at the LIVE Institute? What was the purpose of them?
  7. Reynie noticed that the Messengers were motivated by being a part of something. Was this true for the Mysterious Benedict Society? What motivated Mr. Curtain?
  8. How did each child’s strength get used to solve the mystery? Why did they need each other?
  9. A lot of people talk about “doing the right thing.” Reynie struggled with this alot. Have there been times when you’ve been tempted one way or another? How does it feel?
  10. How did you like the ending? How would you have improved it?

If you liked this book, try

  • The sequel! Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Silver Fin by Charles Higson
  • STORM: The Infinity Code by E.L. Young
  • Farwalker's Quest by Joni Sensel
  • H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute for Villainous Education) by Mark Walden

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.