Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the charming, delightful, mysterious benedict society

When was the last time you found a book to be not just good or engrossing but actually charming?

I found Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society beguiled my socks off. And how did it do this?

Let's see...with secret agents, morse code, trickery, puzzlery, mysterious heroes, plucky orphans, villains with totalitarian ambitions, and just about every other awesome thing you could imagine...including rare plants!

The illustrations by Carson Ellis really bump this one up a notch: She only does chapter title pages in the book, not full-page illustrations, but close enough, so that the chapter titles illustrate scenes from each chapter. Her whimsical, detailed style really fits the whimsical, detailed prose.

We can only hope that as companies tighten their publishing budgets, they won't cut illustrating budgets for books such as this one, which really deserve them.

No comments: