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The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

(The Mysterious Benedict Society #0)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  14,026 ratings  ·  1,161 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
Audiobook, 14 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Listening Library (Audio)
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Yellowshapedbox A few minor points in the first half of book one, where Reynie is still becoming acquainted with Benedict. Nothing game-breaking.
Nya Nicholas did not know him. They got separated at birth.

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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  14,026 ratings  ·  1,161 reviews

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Clare Cannon
Mar 11, 2012 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
A delightful, heartwarming, and spirited story. In The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, a brilliant but lonely orphaned boy discovers an intriguing puzzle and ultimately finds friendship and purpose as he tries to solve it.

Nicholas Benedict is only nine years old, but he has many times more intelligence, curiosity, and resourcefulness than most adults ever attain. But even at such a young age, he’s had a disappointing and difficult life. He’s been passed from one orphanage to anoth
☆ Mira ✷
I distinctly remember being OBSESSED with the Mysterious Benedict Society series 9 years ago and harassing my school librarian for weeks about whether the library had received the third book yet. I never read this prequel, though, and I'm so glad I did this week!! I'd describe it as a mystery set in an edgier, less wand waving version of Hogwarts. 10/10 need to reread the whole series for childhood nostalgia and giggles ...more
I now completely understand the rave about this series. Completely! Right now I’m writing this review rubbing my grainy eyes after staying up quite beyond my bedtime to finish this book—it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been so “lost in a book” that I just had to finish it before going to sleep.

I’m not sure where to even begin in reviewing this book. Nicholas’s character is just perfectly written. Little things I enjoyed about his character were the way his “big words” flowed so naturally into h
Sep 27, 2012 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
Apr 24, 2012 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
Re-Read April ‘21 - I have now hit the limit of procrastinating genetics. I remember this one being my favorite - still absolutely beloved, but the excitement has slightly worn off. Wish I could come back to these books fresh and unspoiled again!

Original Review: I adored this, completely unsurprisingly, since this whole series has captured my heart. (I scored a 4-book hardcover set for $12, so no more forced borrowings. ;) Oh, and I also knew precisely what the treasure was on p. 154 (which als
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Looking to find a new bed time author for my 11yo son, I came across this book and we devoured it. I am not sure who enjoyed out the most. Him listening to me or me reading it aloud. It is a wonderfully written book that gives a narrator duo much to work with.
Yes, it is a bit wordy and could be 25% shorter, but hey! When you are reading to your children what's the point in finishing quickly and being asked to re-read something you've read a hundred times before? Selby or Dr Zeus anyone?

Great st
4.5 stars

This was my first time to read any of the Mysterious Benedict Society books and I had such a good time getting to know young Nicholas Benedict and his friends. Of course I particularly enjoyed how quickly he could devour and remember books and how much a facet of his character that is.

Highly recommended for middle grades and up: even adults!
Mimi 'Pans' Herondale

This book was exactly as I wanted it to be. I actually liked it better than I thought I would!

Favorite characters: Nicholas and his two friends. I mean, the others were all mean and evil! I mean, usually I like villains, but this one was not one of my favorite characters!

AND THE END WAS AMAZEBALLS! Oh my god, it was better than I would have thought! And the treasure was perfect. I am not going to tell you what and where it was, because that would be a spoiler, but to me it was perfect
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
What an incredible journey that was. I am very glad to have made my way to Rothschild End. I hope that my further adventures with Nicholas, John and Violet will be just as intriguing and wonderful. This is a wonderful introduction into the series and a must read for anyone who is currently reading or has finished the series.

Onward to the next one!!
Lynette ~ Escaping Reality – One Book at a Time ~
Jun 12, 2011 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.
Megan Kirby
May 29, 2012 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
Aug 05, 2014 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
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jun 25, 2012 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
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, readtobuy
Storms, this book was good. It wasn't very realistic, but I loved the plot and the setting and how the characters interacted.

(And Violet's cool.)
Seraya Frank
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: special
My favorite of the serie
Aug 05, 2012 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.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was really good! I takes place before the other books when Nicholas Benedict is a child. In the beginning of the book, he is just moving to a new orphanage. Once there, he has to face his many problems. His strange sleeping condition (he constantly will suddenly fall asleep), the spiders (a group of bullies), and the strange mystery surrounding the Rothschild manor. However, he is not alone. He is almost instant friends with John Cole, an older boy. Nicholas soon finds himself in the m ...more
Mar 17, 2016 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
I'd like to preface this review by saying that my opinion of this book has changed drastically. My initial impression of it five years ago was colored heavily by Stewart's flagship series, which I had wanted to see more of, and so I was not willing to appreciate the different and altogether refreshing experience that Extraordinary Education was offering. Now that I've put to rest my rose-tinted adoration for TMBS, I've discovered that Stewart succeeded in this prequel where I once thought he'd f ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just love everything about this whole series and can not recommend it enough. I’ve been telling everyone about it.
Rarely do you find a series where you love the prequel as much or even more than the series itself. It was definitely a different read — the “bad guys” are not world-class super villains, but orphanage bullies, but you delight in every moment they are outsmarted or thwarted just the same.
Nicholas Benedict is just as wonderfully endearing as a child than as you know him in adultho
This book is an enjoyable read, but you shouldn't expect to meet the characters from the previous books other than Nicolas Benedict since this is a book only focusing on him. The story starts off with young Nicolas going to the orphanage since the person that adopted him felt like he was too annoying. In the orphanage, he found out about a treasure that was inside the orphanage. In the end, Nicolas was able to find the treasure and lived in the orphanage since then... until... ...more
Amy Kannel
I *loved* this (and so did my 10yo). Young Nicholas Benedict was such a delightful character! I liked it even better than the second and third books in the original trilogy. I didn't want to put it down; it had some interesting plot twists I didn't see coming. Highly recommended middle-grade novel. ...more
Phillip G.
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I try to read at least some fiction each year. My daughter recommended this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Having grown up in a boarding school myself, there was much I could relate to, but I think anyone would enjoy this adventure.
Jude Johnson
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
It was good, but it went very slowly through events.
Oct 23, 2011 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
Aiden Heavilin
I know of no other writer like Trenton Lee Stewart. Stewart has a remarkable sense of wit, and there's never a situation he's incapable of drawing a vein of humor from. And yet his stories can be sad, sad in an aching, nostalgic, resigned way. His writing is able to tap into your childhood fantasies and display them, intact, in words, words so precisely chosen that they startle you with their vividness and perfect imagery. Above all else, he's a storyteller, and his warm, optimistic personality ...more
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Read the prequel first? 7 146 Nov 11, 2019 09:58AM  
Dialogue 2 13 Jan 20, 2016 07:04AM  
E.P.I.C. Quiz Group 2 24 Apr 30, 2014 02:46PM  
why did you like the book? (this is NOT for people that haven't read the book 6 26 Mar 27, 2014 02:51PM  

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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

Other books in the series

The Mysterious Benedict Society (4 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)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #4)

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