Malcolm at Midnight

by W.H. Beck

Book Snapshot

When a fifth grade teacher visits the local pet store, he mistakes a small rat there for a mouse. That is how Malcolm lands himself in the unexpected position of becoming a class pet. He is exploring his new school when he stumbles upon the Midnight Academy, a coalition of pets that meets in the school library and serves to direct the school and its lankies (humans) away from disaster. This includes protecting the school. Malcolm is adopted as a pledge member, but there are some pets who aren't willing to trust a rat.

Things are not all as they should be inside the old school. Something is going on up in the abandoned and foreboding fourth floor that a nefarious cat rules. Windows are discovered broken. When the elderly iguana in charge of the Midnight Academy disappears, Malcolm is blamed. Can he solve the mystery and clear his name? Read to find out.

The account of Malcolm's adventures is left as a note for the fifth grade teacher from his students to explain what's been going on at school under his nose. The footnotes left throughout the story by the characters provide a dose of humor as well as rooting the store more fully in the school environment. The school is beautifully brought to life by Brian Lies's illustrations. This engaging animal fantasy read fits in well with the likes of Bunnicula.

Illustrator Brian Lies and author W.H. Beck discuss Malcolm at Midnight at the Sheboygan Children's Book Festival in October 2012.