Sunday, February 14, 2010

Party of Four

I'm lucky. Even in the pesky tween stage, my kids still let me read with them at bedtime. We just finished an awesome book that's all about kids helping kids. (And helping adults. And saving the world. Why not?) If you haven't already read it, check out Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society. The 4 lonely protagonists are drawn together by a newspaper ad -- "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" -- and go on to fight a mind-controlling megolomanic in this smart, witty, suspenseful tale. I wondered a bit about the "gifted" angle but was quickly won over by how Stewart frames giftedness. One of the kids is a classic academic genius, another has amazing physical skills (and nerve to match), the third is rich in emotional intelligence, and the fourth kid seems endowed only with cranky stubbornness--until the end, when we see what a strong will can do when other gifts fail. Through it all, they stick together. Kid power at its best!

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