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The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (The Mysterious Benedict Society 0.5)

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,456 Ratings  ·  775 Reviews
Before there was a Mysterious Benedict Society, there was simply a boy named Nicholas Benedict. Meet the boy who started it all....

Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict has more problems than most children his age. Not only is he an orphan with an unfortunate nose, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst p
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
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Nya Nicholas did not know him. They got separated at birth.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Clare Cannon
Jun 29, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 10 years+

Perhaps even more enjoyable than the Mysterious Benedict Society; I really liked the young Nicholas Benedict and his adventures at a new orphanage. It almost felt like I was back at Hogwarts. There's something captivating about following a new kid at a big, old fashioned school that is part fascinating and part scary, part welcoming and part awe-inspiring. Add to that some down-to-earth friends, some plotting enemies, some ambiguous teachers and some mysterious predecessors (who've planted a tr
Nicole Marie
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict is indeed a most extraordinary book that I loved from the beginning and one that I will definitely read again. It's a very enjoyable, fun, easy to follow book that readers young and old will love. This book has kept me up into late hours of the night, keeping me turning the pages because I could hardly put it down.

All the characters felt really real to me, which I loved. My favourite character is definitely Nicholas. Nicholas, the nine-year old o
Apr 24, 2012 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what it is about these Benedict books, but they make me feel like a kid again more than any other children's books I've read as an adult. I get wrapped up in them the same way I used to with my favorites back in elementary school. It's a really nice place to visit.

That said, as much as I enjoyed learning Nicholas Benedict's early history, this book flagged so much in the middle third that I almost gave it up. I skimmed a lot because I didn't feel the clues were building fast enough
Sep 27, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met Trenton Lee Stewart after a concert in central Arkansas several years ago. It was a funny experience because I had not read much of the Mysterious Benedict Society (if any of it) and I knew he was famous for it but couldn't think of anything to say to him. I wanted to smack my forehead afterward because it was silly to have a chance to rub shoulders with a literary celebrity but waste the opportunity by several moments of silence.

Anyway. I read the MBS series and thought they were good. A
Lynette ~ Escaping Reality – One Book at a Time ~
Apr 19, 2012 Lynette ~ Escaping Reality – One Book at a Time ~ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who has read The Mysterious Benedict Society
I cannot wait to read this book!
I LOVE The Mysterious Benedict Society, and was SOOOO psyched when I learned that a new book was coming out.

Simply put, I LOVED THIS BOOK.
May 03, 2015 Madi rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Star Rating:

4.5 stars


It's about the life of young Mr. Benedict.
We get to see how he handles being an outcast, what he does when terrible bullies make fun of him and threaten physical harm, and what he does when he finds out about a missing treasure that's somewhere in the orphanage.


Nicholas: Awe! He's so cute! And amazingly smart, and a very dad reader. I wish I could read that fast. And a note about the other books in the series, I loved to see how all of the children (Reynie,
Megan Kirby
Jun 01, 2012 Megan Kirby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love that Trenton Lee Stewart writes smart, complicated kid's books, but it's getting awkward to have to sneak onto the children's library floor each time he releases a new Benedict Society book. Extraordinary Education was so good, though, that it was totally worth the skeptical looks the librarians gave me when I clomped through reading time in my Doc Martens.

This is the prequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy, which I tore through last summer. Stewart reinvigorates a fairly stan
Jul 26, 2012 Veronica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed-books
Having read the Mysterious Benedict Society, I always wanted to know the background of Nicholas Benedict, the founder of the society. This book gives all that and more. Nicholas is nine and has been moving from orphanage to orphanage for years. When his guardian drops him off at the new orphanage, she warns him to be good. The problem is not that Nicholas cannot obey, but that his conditions make him easy pickings for teasing. He has narcolepsy and falls asleep at random times. He also falls asl ...more
Mar 17, 2016 Gillian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I mean I would have liked it if they had put more detail into his life and made it go through his ages besides being nine. I'd also like to know why he never married I bet he was a strapping young lad! I really liked how it ended though and the mystery did not get boring for a second. I loved how they Incorporated a deaf character (violet ) and how violets swooped to the rescue when we all thought jhon was gone forever. I loved the book but I feel like I need more inf
Apr 13, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing
Before Nicholas Benedict brought four unusual children together, he was just a lonely orphan himself, sent from one orphanage to another. While Nicholas’ mind might be extraordinary, his abnormally large nose and his narcolepsy make him a target for the other children. When nine-year-old Nicholas arrives at Rothschild Manor, he can only hope that things will become better for him. There, he makes a quick friend only to have him scared away by the orphanage bullies, the Spiders. With his photogra ...more
Aug 13, 2013 Winna rated it really liked it
What a delightful read. It makes me realize how much I miss the Mysterious Benedict Society series, and there hasn't been any new books from Mr. Stewart after this one came out in 2012. Now which mystery am I supposed to read?

This one comes as a prequel to the series. Nicholas Benedict is 9, sent to an orphanage, and is friendless. There, he encounters possible friends, possible enemies, and clues to a treasure hunt that he thinks he can solve.

It does not have the modern feel of the series, whic
Mar 20, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
I don't know why exactly, but I really love these books. 4.5 stars. This is the 4th book in the Mysterious Benedict Society Series...but chronologically it comes first. So if you are just starting the series, I would start with this one. These books are fun, sometimes silly, full of adventure, and a little bit of mystery. But above all else, I love that they have such a great human relationship angle to them as well. You quickly come to love and care about the main characters. The moral of this ...more
Sinead FitzPatrick
It was mysterious, exciting, and an all around page turner. The last book in the Mysterious Benedict Society series gave you so much back story, and you wouldn't believe how much it matters. This book was definitely the best of them all!
Joe Santoro
Nov 14, 2015 Joe Santoro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I had marked this series to check out based on seeing the review my my cousin(and the fact it sounded alot like the X-Men) I apparently grabbed the prequel instead.

While it's clearly young adult in style, that doesn't stop it from being a really good book.

Nicholas Benedict is a brilliant 9 year old orphan with Narcolepsy finding his way, and ends up in a broken down, nearly bankrupt orphanage. There are bullies, silly adults, a hero, a cute girl next door, everything one needs for an adventure
Jan 10, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We listened to this on audiobook last year and it was wonderful. It was read by the author, which I always like. This is a prequel to the Benedict Society series, about how founder Nicholas Benedict became who he is at the orphanage where he spent some of his childhood. He's a very sympathetic protagonist. He's very brave, and very principled (though his principles evolve throughout the book), but his narcolepsy and intensity make it seem like he'd be the kind of kid who doesn't have any friends ...more
Sarah Briel
Apr 14, 2016 Sarah Briel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A this fabulous story by Trenton Lee Stewart could be called a prequel of The Mysterious Benedict Society, but it's so much more than that. The tale depicts the genius nine-year old Nicholas Benedict, and is utterly amazing. One does not even have to have read Mr. Stewart's other books to utterly enjoy The Extraordinary Education.

The book is filled with loneliness, happiness, wit, genius, and so many other things, blended perfectly together by Mr. Stewart's writing. It's chock-full of adventure,
Dec 27, 2014 Tarissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict" makes an excellent example of creativity and ingenuity in an author's writing style.

This book is actually the prequel to the "Mysterious Benedict Society" trilogy. You really must read the trilogy first, in order to catch all the little details hidden in the prequel. While we've so enjoyed the adventures and quests of Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance who form the Society --- and all of whom are very bright children that Mr. Benedict cultivate
Appealing dual aspects of fun and adventure, woven throughout with deeper messages about spirituality and morality.

Not only is this story action-packed and adventure-filled in the sense of actual events and scenes taking place, but it is also eventful in the sense of Nicholas' spiritual growth and character development.

I loved the three main characters - Nicholas, John and Violet - they were all soulful in one way or another. I can't deny that in some places I experienced bit of a lull, but ov
Apr 15, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nine-year old Nicholas Benedict is a force to be reckoned with. Coming to Child's End, or the Manor, opens up a whole new world for Nicholas. Of course there are "The Spiders" to deal with and the rules to follow and the chores to do, but there are also one or two friendships to be made and a real mystery to be solved. Somewhere in the Manor is the lost inheritance of the late Mrs. Rothchild - it is said to be a vast treasure and Nicholas is sure he will be able to find it. He knows if he can se ...more
Jun 22, 2012 Betty-Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I read the first of the Mysterious Benedict Society books last year with a book group I had with some fourth grade boys. Best book club I ever did! Picture this – 12 bouncy, loud, excited boys stampeding into the library, grabbing their book, and becoming completely absorbed in the story. For 30 minutes they read, without any prompting or reminding on my part. You truly could hear a pin drop! We all loved the mystery, trying to figure out the clues. I have not read the other two in the series bu ...more
Sep 16, 2013 LauraW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although my rating for this book is the same as my rating for the first book in the series (this book is a prequel to the first book), for some reason this book resonated with me more. I liked the first book because of the diverse set of gifted kids. I liked this book for Nicholas himself. I am still trying to puzzle out why this book worked so much better for me than books 2 and 3 of the series and even more than book one, too. I think part of the reason is that, by focusing on Nicholas, you re ...more
Dec 11, 2014 Cleo rated it it was amazing
You may have heard of The Mysterious Benedict Society, a book which I love (as well as the two series.) But before the Mysterious Benedict Society, there was a boy named Nicholas Benedict. This book is about his childhood, and it is a great story on its own, though it also provides some insight into Mr. Benedict in the other series. Trenton Lee Stewart has a very distinctive writing style, which was apparent in this book as well. Nicholas, a nine-year-old orphan, gets sent to a new orphanage, ju ...more
Steven Grecia
Words can't explain how much this book disappointed me.

Trenton Lee Stewart. THE Trenton Lee Stewart. He wrote this book? Where's the Trenton I idolized who wrote The Mysterious Benedict Society Trilogy? Where is that brilliant author who opened my eyes to the world of reading?

The book went from boring to boring-er. The setting was isolated in their own little place. Trenton forgot to use his imagination. Halfway through the book, the story went on and on and on and on about a stupid treasure.
Aug 17, 2012 Peg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict is sent to yet another orphanage, Rothschild’s End. He is an extraordinarily intelligent lad, with a photographic memory, mechanical skills, and logical thinking. He is also slightly small for his age, sports a larger-than-usual lumpy nose, and suffers from narcolepsy. Not surprisingly, he becomes a target for the trio of bullies called the Spiders, who rule, undeterred by unsuspecting staff, over all the children at the orphanage. In fact, the small staff is rath ...more
Jan 16, 2013 Evan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict" is the fourth and final installment in Trenton Lee Stewart's the Mysterious Benedict Society series. The book is a prequel about Mr. Benedict troubled childhood. As a child, Nicholas Benedict was very smart, able to memorize anything he read. He loves to read, but unfortunately has a disease called narcolepsy. Furthermore, he is an orphan , and since his last orphanage, Littleview, closed, he gets transferred to a different orphanage near the to ...more
Allison Campbell
THE EXTRAORDINARY OF NICHOLAS BENEDICT by Trenton Lee Stewart makes a compelling stand-alone novel, but for readers of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY and its sequels, this prequel is a real treat. We meet Nicholas at the age of nine, when he is already an old pro at adjusting to life in a new orphanage, as his narcolepsy and night terrors tax an institution's patience. He joins 'Child's End, ruled by a pack of bullies called the Spiders, and makes a single friend, John. He is locked in his room ...more
A well-read audiobook and an interesting prequel to the rest of the books about these characters. I find it interesting that there is NO mention of Mr. Benedict's twin (it's been awhile since I read the original trilogy. Was his twin revealed to him in book one or had he already met him?). What I did enjoy was Nicholas' (almost) unflappable optimism and ingenuity (albeit unbelievably precocious, but that's what makes us love him, right?). I also appreciate that Nicolas' realization towards the e ...more
Vivien Sarabillo

This book. OMG.

1.) Mr. Trenton Lee Stewart you are...... Words are not enough to describe how sensational you are.
2.) Eidetic Memory? COOL.
3.) Having an Eidetic Memory at such a young age? ANSHDJSKSHDSNDKSDUDNSUPERCOOL.


The Mysterious Benedict Society Series was just amazing. And I guess Mr. T.L.S did a superb job in writing this book that it surpassed the cleverness and exquisiteness of the MBS series. Even though the plot was somewhat similar with the books about Reynie, Sti
Flora Smith
May 09, 2012 Flora Smith rated it it was amazing
This was my introduction to the Mysterious Benedict Society and I must say that I'm hooked. I shall definitely seek out more of these books.

Nicholas Benedict is an orphan with more problems than most. He suffers from narcolepsy and he's a genious. In the begining of the story he comes to Child's End from another orphanage, he's been in orphanages most of his life, and here he finds a mystery. Nicholas soon discovers that there is a treasure to be found that was hidden by the previous owners of
Mar 28, 2014 Petra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this look into Nicholas Benedict's childhood. Parts of it were sorrowful, yet Nicholas pulls through and thrives in the process, learning about himself and others.
The themes of the importance of family & friends, loyalty, belief in self are in the forefront, in a humorous, interesting and warm way. Learning to work together and confront bullies also plays a large role.
The Mysterious Benedict series has interesting characters and situations that kids will love. This is a won
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why did you like the book? (this is NOT for people that haven't read the book 6 24 Mar 27, 2014 02:51PM  
Read the prequel first? 7 126 Oct 09, 2013 05:48PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict 1 4 Jan 02, 2013 11:08AM  
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Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society series for young readers, as well the adult novel Flood Summer. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
More about Trenton Lee Stewart...

Other Books in the Series

The Mysterious Benedict Society (3 books)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #2)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #3)

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“In the candle's flickering light, the library's thousands of books emerged from the shadows, and for a moment Nicholas could not help admiring them again. During free time he had almost never looked up from the pages he was reading, but now he saw the books anew, from without rather than from within, and was reminded of how beautiful they were simply as objects. The geometrical wonder of them all, each book on its own and all the books together, row upon row, the infinite patterns and possibilities they presented. They were truly lovely.” 16 likes
“Nicholas Benedict did have an exceptional gift for knowing things (more exceptional, in fact, than most adults would have thought possible), and yet not even he could know that this next chapter was to be the most unusual-and most important-of his entire childhood. Indeed, the strange days that lay ahead would change him forever, though for now they had less substance than the mist through which he ran.” 16 likes
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