NPR's Backseat Book Club: 'Mysterious Benedict': Solve A Puzzle, Save The World

In The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, four exceptional children wind up going on the adventure of a lifetime after answering a rather strange ad. The ad appears in a newspaper in a fictional place called Stonetown. It reads, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"

Dozens of children answer the ad and try to conquer a series of mind-boggling tests. But only four are able to pass. All are orphans, and each is a genius in his or her own way.

Author Trenton Lee Stewart explains how these children come together to form a sort of pint-size Mod Squad. The character Reynie is "a remarkable problem solver," says Stewart. "He's got a quick and facile intelligence. He has a tendency to see things that other people miss."