When the teachers and students are away, the classroom pets will play. Malcolm At Midnight by debut author WH Beck is an utterly charming middle grade story about identity, friendship and doing the right thing. Enhanced by gorgeous illustrations by Brian Lies, Malcolm At Midnight is the sort of book I would recommend to the animal obsessed elementary school student.
Malcolm, the title character, is Mr. Binney’s fifth grade classroom pet. He’s a very small rat and thus is mistaken for a mouse. Malcolm comes to discover that rats have a very bad reputation for being dirty and having loose morals and so lets others think that he is a mouse rather than correcting them. His life in the classroom is wonderful, he has a comfy cushion, pop tart snacks and attention from the students. Even better, when all the humans leave school for the night, the other classroom pets have a secret society called The Midnight Academy, which aims to protect the school. The leader of the Academy, a wise old iguana named Aggy disappears one night. The prime suspect is Malcolm, because he’s a rat and we all know how awful rats are. Malcolm must find Aggy in order to prove his innocence.
Malcolm the rat is kind of a stellar lead character. He’s very kind. He also has a knack for reading. Perhaps, though, the very best thing about Malcolm is his valor. You see, when everyone suspects him of kidnapping Aggy, Malcolm does not run away. Rather, Malcolm faces the problem head on and tries to solve the mystery using his brain and other resources. He is very earnest and upstanding, proving it doesn’t matter what you are on the outside, but who you are in the inside.
Malcolm At Midnight by WH Beck definitely belongs within the classroom library. It is a very sweet story with lovely illustrations. It is full of heart and will have children cheering for Malcolm to solve the mystery. As a fan of stories with animals, I definitely enjoyed this one although it’s not exactly in the same category as Redwall, but it’s rather adorable and not a bad way to spend a quiet morning.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.
Other reviews of Malcolm At Midnight by WH Beck:
My Brain On Books – “They had me at “a secret society of classroom pets”‘