Saturday, November 2, 2013
Malcolm at Midnight by W.H. Beck
When Malcolm becomes the latest classroom pet in McKenna School, everyone is delighted to have such a cute mouse join the menagerie of animals. The only problem is, Malcolm is not a mouse. He is in fact, a rat! He decides to keep his true identity a secret when he learns that rats are mistrusted by humans, as well as the Midnight Academy, who are a secret society of classroom pets. The Midnight Academy entrusts themselves with the task of keeping the children, or "nutters", as they call them, out of harm's way. But when Aggy, their iguana leader goes missing, Malcolm's true identity is revealed and he is blamed for her disappearance.
Malcolm must prove his innocence and also prove that rats can be trustworthy creatures despite their unsavory reputation. Along the way he meets a fellow rat named Clyde, who certainly does give rats a bad name, and a spiteful cat named Snip, who has her own particular revenge to exact.
This is a charming animal fantasy which will remind readers of other precocious pets such as Humphrey of Betty Birney's Humphrey Adventure series and Freddy of the I, Freddy series by Dietlof Rieche. Lovers of books about talking rodents, such as A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith and The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo will surely enjoy this book. 2013.