Tag Archives: treasure

Mysteries, Train Rides, and Narcolepsy: All the Best in Children’s Literature

I just finished all of the ‘Mysterious Benedict Society’ books, and that includes the prequel, which we shall be discussing this evening:  The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict.

I am such a big fan of prequels. There are few things sweeter than being woken out of the post-series-finishing blues by the announcement of another installment somehow (no matter how distantly) related to your favorite characters.  I really wish JK Rowling would get with the program already.

You may have noticed (but probably not, because I doubt that anyone is follows my blog posts that closely) that I haven’t yet posted about books 1, 2, or 3 of the series.  Why the total disregard for chronological order?  You may be wondering to yourself.  Well, besides the fact that I am filled with whimsy, I also hold the belief that no matter the publishing order, books are best kept in the chronological order of their own fictional world.  Take the Chronicles of Narnia for instance.  Besides the fact that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is by far my least favorite of the books, it just makes more sense that you read The Magician’s Nephew first so you can understand the Professor and the wardrobe more fully.

Anyway, I don’t really need a reason.  Stop arguing with me already. Continue reading


Ghosts of Indeterminate Gender

This kind of book is the number one drawback of having an e-reader.  Especially the e-ink type.  Sure, it doesn’t hurt your eyes and you can read it in the sun, but it sure stinks when your book has cool drawings.

I can’t think of an interesting, relatable anecdote to tie into the story, so I’ll just start telling you about it

Liesl’s father has died, and her stepmother, in usual evil-stepmother-style, has locked her in the attic.  Lonely and depressed, Liesl is less surprised than you’d think when a ghost and its pet show up in her tiny room.  Neither boy nor girl, Po comes from the Other Side, attracted to the light Liesl’s room, and intrigued by her imaginative drawings.  Po’s pet, Bundle, neither dog nor cat, goes wherever Po goes, so Liesl gets a package deal of friends.

Liesl and Po make a deal; Po will look for Liesl’s father on the Other Side, and Liesl will draw it a picture.

Meanwhile, Will is standing in the street, gazing up at Liesl’s window.  Will is an orphan and an alchemist’s apprentice—to a very nasty and mean alchemist.  This very night he is set to deliver the most powerful magic potion in the world to the Lady Premiere.  But tired and distracted, Will accidently switches the powerful magic with the ashes of Liesl’s recently deceased father.

Then things get interesting.  This mix-up sets all the characters on the same path, a journey to the house that where Liesl grew up.  The different motives and different viewpoints build an interesting and layered storyline that manages to be both alternately funny, sweet, and sad.  Continue reading