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

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  8,647 Ratings  ·  854 Reviews
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 possible moments.

Now he's being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumsta
Audio, 470 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Listening Library (Audio)
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Popular Answered Questions

Maria Not necessarily, but it makes you appreciate this book much more if you read the series first.
Nya Nicholas did not know him. They got separated at birth.

Community Reviews

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Clare Cannon
Jun 29, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
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
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 piece of literature that readers young and old will love. This wonderful story has kept me up into late hours of the night, and early hours of morning, urging me to keep on turning the pages because I didn't want to put it down.

All the characters felt real and present, my favourite definitely be
Sep 27, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Jul 26, 2012 Veronica rated it really liked it
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
May 03, 2015 Madi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 13, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 17, 2016 Gillian rated it it was amazing
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
Sinead FitzPatrick
Oct 26, 2015 Sinead FitzPatrick rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 29, 2016 Elaine rated it it was amazing
I think this just made it into my list of all-time favorite kids books! I loved this-it's got great kid-appeal with secret meetings, sneaky excursions, outsmarted bullies, mysterious treasure, well-placed humor, plus it's got great parent-appeal with its themes of blossoming friendships, courage, resourceful problem-solving, self-sacrifice for the good of others, and finding life purpose. After reading the Mysterious Benedict Society books, seeing Mr. Benedict as a child, with all the gifts of t ...more
Oct 13, 2016 Diane rated it really liked it
I cannot believe that it has taken my son and I almost a year to read this book! I have tried to continue our tradition of me reading to the kids in the evening before bedtime. This book was a bit too heavy for my 8 year old daughter, so we lost her in the early pages. My son enjoyed it, but he is in middle school with a busy schedule and our time to read together is very limited.

This book is very interesting and well written, but it was very slow moving. It was not a great choice for a read al
Nicole Thomas savadkoohi
Sep 25, 2016 Nicole Thomas savadkoohi rated it it was amazing
I'm not really sure why I picked this book up in the library, but something about it really attracted me. I had not read any of the other Mysterious Benedict Society books yet, and this prequel totally hooked me on the series. It is an excellent book. I wasn't amazed by the mystery (like others, I correctly guessed well before the resolution) but the world and character building is exceptional. I love Nicholas! I'm actually glad I read this book before the rest of the series because having this ...more
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
Jun 22, 2012 Betty-Ann rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 17, 2012 Peg rated it really liked it
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
Allison Campbell
Jun 18, 2012 Allison Campbell rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 15, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 16, 2013 Evan rated it really liked it
"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
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
Steven Grecia
Dec 12, 2012 Steven Grecia rated it it was ok
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.
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
Dec 11, 2014 Cleo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2013 LauraW rated it really liked it
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
Joe Santoro
Nov 14, 2015 Joe Santoro rated it really liked it
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
Mar 06, 2013 Carissa rated it it was amazing
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
May 19, 2012 Charlyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 5 up
This prequel to the other books of the Mysterious Benedict Society series is a good read whether or not one has already been introduced to Nicholas Benedict in the other books. He is a rather pathetic child--an orphan with a long nose, he suffers from narcolepsy and horrid nightmares and now he's being sent to yet another orphanage. And it's not a cheery place. In spite of its dreariness, Nicholas manages to make a friend and to find a mystery to solve. His intellect and photographic memory prov ...more
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Dialogue 3 10 Nov 20, 2016 03:48PM  
Read the prequel first? 9 129 Sep 06, 2016 02:55PM  
E.P.I.C. Quiz Group 2 21 Apr 30, 2014 02:46PM  
why did you like the book? (this is NOT for people that haven't read the book 6 25 Mar 27, 2014 02:51PM  
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; The Secret Keepers, also for young readers; and the adult novel Flood Summer. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Letters to the author may be sent to:

Trenton Lee Stewart
PO Box 251358
Little Rock, AR 72205
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.” 17 likes
“No sooner had he thought this than he realized what was anchoring his happiness. It was purpose. He knew what he wanted to do. He knew the way he thought things should be, and Mr. Harinton was proving that other people--even adults--could feel the same way. Nicholas had something to aim for now. He might not know what he wanted to be when he grew up, but he knew with absolute certainty how he wanted to be.” 14 likes
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