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Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma & an AWESOME Giveaway!

So here's what happened. I had every intention of reading this book THE DAY of its release. Only Bookworm1 got sick and I forgot *gasp* about the release date and then yesterday Dawn, (BLESS HER!!!), e-mailed me to ask me if I had picked up a copy because I had raved to her that I was going to do so. I saw her e-mail, picked up Bookworm1, stuck him in the car and hightailed it to the bookstore. (I have never done this before, if you were wondering.) Thankfully she sent the e-mail right before nap time so I came home, tucked Bookworm1 in and sank down on the couch to read and read and read.

I will not spoil this book for anyone. So you can feel free to read this entire review and walk away satisfied that a.) you should absolutely read this series if you have not already done so and b.) you will be pleasantly surprised by the book itself. Now, after saying that, I must tell you (to calm your excited nerves) that this is the last book in the Mysterious Benedict Society series. (Unless, of course, Trenton Lee Stewart does something WeIrD to revive the storyline.)

As any reading of Reading to Know well knows, I adore this book series. Simply, positively adore it. After reading The Mysterious Benedict Society (to see my review of it, click on the title) I declared it one of the best (and totally unintentional) allegories for spiritual warfare that I have ever in my life read. Book 2 was more focused on adventure and I didn't see as many biblical parallels and the same goes for The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma. It is a fun adventure story in which the reader becomes so sucked into the story that the pages turn themselves. Before you know you've started the book, it's over. (Then you cry and wish it was all brand new again, but then you plan a re-read and feel better about life in general.)

In The Prisoner's Dilemma we once again meet up with Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance who are holed away at Mr. Benedict's house and in a state of confinement to keep them safe from Mr. Curtain and the Ten Men. The mysterious mind reading device known as The Whisperer is safe for the moment, but, of course, Mr. Curtain is working mischief to win it back and take control of the world. (Can you just see me sitting here in your mind's eye, with my eyes dancing and with this huge grin on my face? You'd have it just about right!)

Once again the four children are engaged in a battle between good and evil. Once again I love this book for the clear distinction between what is right and what is wrong. In this book the children's skills at deduction and giftings are put into play to ultimately save the day. (That's really not a spoiler. This series is very certain about good being good and evil being evil.) Once again the children are "in the know" about the evil that Mr. Curtain would love to unleash upon the planet while the rest of the unsuspecting population is going about their daily lives.

The two messages of this book that came across the strongest for me were the following:

1. It was incredibly important for Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance to work as a team. Constance is the youngest of the group and throughout this book her giftings become more clear to the group. She is a valued team member (although a very difficult one to deal with!) but so is everyone else. The message is reinforced over and over again in this book that we need people. We are not meant to live alone. It reminds me of the following verse:

Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. Ps. 11:14

If the children had not stuck together and worked together, they might not have met with success in their endeavors. By reasoning together, putting other people's pleasure, comfort and safety above their own, they made it through as a unit. That flies in the face of modern thought. We do not typically find ourselves safe in crowds of people - no matter who those people are and how much we might like them! Even the Army is peddling a new slogan about being an 'Army of One' but that's bogus! We need people. We need to be a part of a community. We need fellowship and accountability and this book highlighted that need in an adventurous and clever way, for which I have a great deal of appreciation.

2. In one conversation with Mr. Benedict, the children are discussing some of Mr. Curtain's spies and how they fell prey to Mr. Curtain's evil designs. Mr. Benedict makes the following statement:

"Indeed, confident assurances and promises of fortune, when whispered into the right ears, often serve as substitutes for thinking at all." (page 107)

This "simple" statement emphasizes the fact that we need to be individuals of thought and discernment, not willing just to accept whatever is spoon fed to us by any number of individuals, corporations, even, er, Christian organizations. We need to be people of moral integrity, always searching for what is true. As a Christian, I believe the best source of truth is the Word of God. So then it follows that I should be comparing the things I hear/read/see/think/do in light of scripture, that being my ultimate authority.

How do the two messages simultaneously work together? Be a team! Be thoughtful towards your own behavior!

Good thought and good company somehow seem wrapped up in each other. Ironically, these two messages are ones that I am grappling with in my own life. I do not think I just pulled these messages from the book out of the hat though. They are clearly some of the main points of this work.

We need each other. We also need to be searching for truth. Sometimes that means taking a stand for one's self. And other times we find the most safety in a multitude of counselors. It's a curious balance.

And The Prisoner's Dilemma , my friends, is an awesome conclusion to the Mysterious Benedict Society series, providing its own curious balance and satisfying every reader's desire for entertainment and a good deal of thought.

My other copies of these books are both paperback editions but since I rushed out to buy a hardback, I feel the need to replace the first two with hardbacks also. Not that I mind and it's probably a wise thing to do because I intend to love these books fiercely with my children as we all grow up together.

WITH EXTREME EXCITEMENT I would like to announce that the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has offered to give away a complete set of The Mysterious Benedict Society (three books total!) to one Reading to Know reader. Would you like to win a complete set of these books? Leave a comment. (Regular subscribers may leave two comments in this case.)

Contest will be open until Saturday, October 17th.


THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

If you have not yet read The Mysterious Benedict Society, this would be an excellent opportunity to correct the situation.

Good luck!

56 comments:

bekahcubed said...

Oh, oh, oh.

I am beside myself with excitement. A chance to own a complete set? I adore these books, but I've only gotten them at the library. I would LOVE to win a copy.

JenniferB said...

THIS WOULD BE AWESOME! I love these books! I also checked them out at the library. I think they would be a great addition to my collection that I've started for my children. I have a 10 month old and another on the way.

JenniferB said...

I am also a regular subscriber.

Rachel said...

I would love a chance to win this series!!! I'm a big fan....

I didn't read your whole review, only because I want every element of this book to be a surprise. I have a big trip (22-hr plan ride) planned in a couple weeks, and I'm taking this book with me!!! I can't wait! :)

Rachel said...

Oh, and I'm a regular subscriber through Google Reader. :)

Nathan & Alison said...

Yes, please!!!!! I have yet to read these books and would love them.

WordLily said...

Ooh, ooh! I've had this series on my wish list for ages now! I'd love to win.

Just Mom said...

Wow - what a great giveaway! I loved the first two but haven't picked the third up yet. You are right that they are both fun and such a good moral lesson. I kind of thought of them as Harriet the Spy mixed with Roald Dahl and perhaps a touch of CS Lewis!

WordLily said...

I'm a long-time subscriber.

Just Mom said...

And I subscribe through Google Reader.

morninglight mama said...

No giveaway entry for me, but just wanted to say YAY that you got to read it! :)

Meg said...

We set aside school for an hour to be run to snag a copy hot off the presses. We could use a second set in our home!

Bluestocking said...

YAY! I finished the first book not that long ago. I do subscribe to your blog.

Tea said...

I would love to win these books. Didn't know about the titles until I read your review.

teakettle58atyahoodotcom

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

Comment #1:

Memememememememememe! :)

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

Comment #2:

Please pick me. :) And seriously, what a great giveaway!

Amy said...

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh MY GOODNESS!!!


Sign me up, sister! :-)

Amy said...

Comment #2 for me!

(Can I leave another comment over at Reading My Library for another chance? JUST KIDDING, y'all!)

Elizabeth said...

Just found your blog while looking for reviews on Don't Make Me Count to 3 and Wise Words for Mom. I've enjoyed reading back (for way too long on my laptop!) and look forward to following your blog. I've never heard of this series and am always looking for new authors to read. Thanks!
Elizabeth

Abi said...

These look like really fun books. I'd love to win them . thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Abi said...

I am a regular subscriber also. Thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Sharon said...

We just recently read The Mysterious Benedict Society and had no idea there was a Book 2 and now a Book 3!!! My children (and husband) are going to be thrilled.

etirv said...

What an exciting giveaway, indeed! Please count me in!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Belle said...

I'd love to win! Well, actually, I'd love to win for the third book, because I already have the first two books :)

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Elisabeth said...

Oh! I will have to read these! (And subsequently demand Silas also do so. He loves good children's literature.)

Lucky me - I have the AMAZING Carnegie Library to get them from. (Seriously - you would faint from the sheer awesomeness.)

Or I could just win them :-P

Elisabeth said...

Really though, I feel incredibly pretentious being all "I'm a regular subscriber - give me a gold star."

But I am. *holds out hand for gold star*

Laura Fabiani said...

I am always looking for great books to read to my kids and this series sounds like just the kind of reading I do with the children. And great review, by the way!

Laura Fabiani said...

I am also now following your blog.

Carmen7351 said...

I'm definitely interested in children's books to read to kids I know. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Rose said...

Oh, yes! I can't wait to read this one.

Shawna said...

Shawna L
weloveourdogs@juno.com

Oh thanks for this amazing giveaway I have wanted to read these for so long!!! Thanks Thanks Thanks for this chance to win them

Shawna said...

Shawna L
weloveourdogs@juno.com

I have been a follower for awhile now !!! bThanks again ;o.)

Sky said...

THERE IS ANOTHER BOOK???? AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!
I do not own it yet?
AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!

As usual, thank you for the review and for the booklist updates!

I too, would love to own the whole series as (SIGH) I have yet to own the second book. SIGH!

Melissa said...

I'm a subscriber...I LOVE these books. I talk about them to everyone I know! I would love to win them for my kids.

Anne Fontenot said...

I think I am what you would refer to as a regular subscriber. I am also a homeschool teacher of 11 childern (not all my own). Your mom introduced me to the series. I would love to get the whole set!

Mrs. H said...

Wow! Great giveaway. My son read the first book from the library, but I haven't been able to read them yet. He loved it! It was the first book he read that he didn't want to put down.

Mystica said...

Havent read any of them but would love to!

Please count me in.

Mystica

mystica123athotmaildotcom

Ronnica said...

Oh my...how awesome! I've been wanting to read these, and then donate them to my friend's low-level high school English class. Though if I like it as much as you, I might keep 'em and buy another set for the kids!

Ronnica said...

And here's another comment since I'm a subscriber. ;)

Anonymous said...

My boys would love a series full of adventure like this one. Please put me in the drawing. Thanks.
Deb
rdde34mehotmaildotcom

Holly said...

I haven't read this yet, but they sound perfect for my boys. I'd love to be entered!!

je2kids(at)yahoo(dot)com

Gayle C said...

Wonderful..Would love to have this set..Be blessed today

Lisa writes... said...

Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

:-D

Lisa writes... said...

And I'm a regular subscriber (you know it).

Sue said...

My oldest son would LOVE these. Thanks for sharing.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

The Duenes Family said...

Hi Carrie,

Regular ready here! I really enjoy your blog and your reviews really help me in picking out good reads from my two kiddos!

Hope to add The MBS to our library!

God Bless!

Jen Evans said...

These sound like fun! I just read your review of the first book (since I'm such a sporadic blog reader), and then logged on to the library to put it on hold. Can't wait to read it, thanks for the recommendation! :)

Winning Readings said...

This looks like a terrific book/series! I even blogged about it: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2009/10/mysterious-benedict-society.html

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Winning Readings said...

And I subscrbe...

Danielle a.k.a Yellie said...

I love to read aloud to my kids and these books sound awesome for that! Thank you for the chance to win!!!!

danielle78@comcast.net

Carol M said...

These books sound wonderful! I would love to give them to my granddaughters! Thank you for the giveaway!

I'm a new subscriber.

mittens0831 at aol dot com

Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker said...

These books look great! I would love to win a set. thanks for offering!

casey said...

My kids are hooked already! Please enter us in the drawing to win the set.

caseypitts@hotmail.com

plb8156 said...

I just found your sit, but sure would love a chance in this great giveaway :)
plb8156@aol.com

Annette W. said...

Oh, more drama, more surprises...and pages turning themselves? Oh boy!

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