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Malcolm at Midnight (Malcolm at Midnight #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  427 ratings  ·  111 reviews
When Malcolm the rat arrives as the pet at McKenna School, he revels in the attention. He also meets the Midnight Academy, a secret society of classroom pets that keeps the nutters (kids) safe. There’s just one problem…rats have a terrible reputation! So when the Academy’s iguana leader is kidnapped, Malcolm must prove his innocence—and that even rats can be good guys. Ill ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2012)
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Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenLiar & Spy by Rebecca SteadThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Newbery 2013
67th out of 118 books — 1,167 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenHigh in School by Salman AdityaThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
260th out of 336 books — 620 voters

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Community Reviews

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colleen the fabulous fabulaphile

I ended up really enjoying this book. Maybe I'm just a sucker for anthropomorphic animals, but Malcolm was great. Some of the secondary characters weren't quite as developed, but the important characters were all developed enough to be interesting and believable - especially Amelia and, to a lesser extent, Jovhan.

The narration style was really interesting, and it's not something I think I've encountered before. Basically, it's written by a student as a note/explanation to his/her teacher. (It
Malcolm at Midnight by W.H. Beck with illustrations by Brian Lies tells the story of Malcom a classroom rat. After arriving at McKenna school he soon finds himself part of a caper involving a secret society of school pets, and evil cat and a kidnapped iguana. Malcolm must use his smarts and wits and his human friends to clear his name and to help save the school.

I loved this book. Malcom was delightful and his relationships with the other pets and his classmates were fun to read. The book is nar
Caroline Akervik
Malcolm is a rat who is suffering an identity crisis of sorts. He aspires to be a rat of “valor and merit,” a heroic rat. The problem is that his friends at the McKenna School, both human and animal, are suspicious of rats in general and mistake him for a mouse. Honey Bunny, one of the leaders of Midnight Academy, despises rats and claims that they are “skuzzy garbage-eaters who lie and cheat.” Malcolm aspires to be the rat he is inside, the rat he is when he is alone at midnight, while striving ...more
Let's talk about this book's narration, because holy wow is it unique: written to the class's teacher from the students, the narrator addresses him as "you, Mr. Binney". It's subtle but effective. And footnotes linking to "vocabulary words" or hilarious commentary on specific students in the class are definite funny highpoints, a burst of awesome in each chapter.

That being said, Malcolm isn't distanced at all from the reader due to the narration style. In fact, it'd be nigh impossible not to rel
I received an audio book of Malcolm at Midnight from W. H. Beck along with some bookmarks. It was such a treat to listen to Malcolm's story while I worked and I look forward to sharing it with my students.

Malcolm at Midnight is a wonderful school story mystery full of interesting characters with quirky personalities. Malcolm becomes the 5th grade's class "mouse" even though he is actually a small rat. He befriends a girl in the class and becomes a member of The Midnight Academy which is led by a
MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT will appeal to fans of mysteries and animal adventures, particularly fans of Humphrey the Hamster, Despereaux the Mouse, and the Rats of NIMH.

McKenna School has a newbie: Classroom mouse Malcolm. He is quickly inducted into The Midnight Academy, a secret society of all the classroom pets at McKenna School. They meet under cover of night and are devoted to keeping the school kids safe. Malcolm loves the school, and he loves the club, but he has a secret… he’s not a mouse at al
I really enjoyed listening to this delightful mystery about Malcolm, a smaller than average rat, who becomes the newest fifth grade pet at McKenna School. Malcolm will steal your heart! He meets a secret society in the school called the Midnight Academy, which is made up of classroom pets who look out for the nutters (kids). Unfortunately, since rats have a bad reputation, Malcolm lets the misunderstanding go uncorrected that he's a mouse. One day the Academy leader, an iguana named Aggy, disapp ...more
Judy Desetti
Jun 12, 2014 Judy Desetti rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Judy by: WAW 2015 nomination list: GR 3-5
Wonderful!! I loved it. I believe this will make a great read aloud. Kids will love the animals and mystery involved. The story was so engaging as we learned about all the characters and how it all fits together.

If like Poppy by Avi you will love this!
Poppy by Avi

Absolutely fantastic! On par with Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Carmen Agra Deedy's The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale. A must read for lovers of animals acting like people stories.
Kristen Doyle
My 8 year old and I read this together and we loved it! Great kids chapter book!
Really cool
Devoured in a day. Impressive laying of plot-groundwork in this mystery. Animal illustrations gorgeous, as expected of Brian Lies of Bats at the Beach fame. Excellent dialogue and rich atmosphere--we get to know the school intimately through Malcolm's nose, ears, and over-gnawed whiskers.

Regrettably, the primary antagonist is a cat--but though a villain, she's a tragic one.

Will definitely recommend to my library patrons!
Charming and clever
I would actually rate this fantasy about a 3 1/2 -- a yes vote, but it is again one that I didn't read before our vote. The only part I didn't like was the mean cat who was the villain. I felt sorry for him with his little kitten collar. But the story is about Malcolm who is a small rat and lives in Mr. Binney's 5th grade class. Because he is small, everyone thinks he is a mouse and Malcolm lets that slide. Then he joins the Midnight Academy of school pets that help the school and meet in the li ...more
This is a wonderful animal tale. I would not call it an "animal fable" because it does not really reflect any lesson or tell anything about society.
Malcom is a rat that has been mistaken for a mouse that the 5th grade teaher Mr. Binney has purchased as a classroom pet. Malcom struggles to be the rat he really is and yet wants to be the cute mouse everyone thinks he is. Malcom discovers and introduces readers to the underground, after-hours world of Mckenna School: The Midnight Academy.The Midn
This is a wonderful story! There is a lot of action and suspense. It was hard to put down when I knew it was time to go to bed. It has some great lessons about friendship, self-esteem, honesty and integrity.
I read this as a nominee for the William Allen White award, and it appears that voting was not done or announced at the time of my reading. It is a cute story about Malcolm a rat that has been mistaken for a mouse. He joins the other school animals in The Midnight Academy which has the purpose of protecting the school, the nutters, and the lankys. I'm not used to stories told by animals, but this was done well. The most distracting part for me, and I can see kids also being distracted is by the ...more
You will want to stay up all night reading this because it is such a good book. I read this until 4:00 in the morning. I reccomend this for people who are night owls.
Even my 11 yr old who is usually too big for read alouds listened along. We all loved it.
Sara Truog
Juvenile novel about a very small rat named Malcolm who gets adopted by an elementary school teacher and taken to the classroom. Upon arriving at school, he discovers that all of the classroom pets have formed a secret society which is surprisingly instrumental to the school's smooth functioning. When a kindergarten iguana goes missing, Malcolm gets in trouble with the society and must clear his name and save his friend!

Reminded me of The World According to Humphrey - but with mystery and intrig
I read this in one afternoon. I could not have loved it any more than I did. This is a beautiful story of being the person you should be, not the one people expect you to be. That little rat Malcolm displayed merit and valor through the entire novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a story with fantastic character development, a strong plot, and a clear, positive message. I wish I could erase the book from my mind so I could restart it right now and experience it for the first ti ...more
When I say 'rat' what words come to mind? Sneaky? Evil? Untrustworthy? Well don't believe everything that you read in books. Rats aren't all bad--and Malcolm is determined to prove that even though he is a rat he can still be have valor and merit like everyone else in Mr. Binney's classroom. Of course, Mr. Binney wouldn't have bought Malcolm in the first place if he didn't think he was a mouse. It's not Malcolm's fault he's so small though. As if being mistaken for a mouse wasn't enough Mr. Binn ...more
Teresa Bateman
In the beginning you have to compare this book to the Humphrey series by Birney, which tells the tale of a golden hamster who is a class pet and involves himself in the lives of the students. Indeed, there are a lot of similarities at first. Soon, however, this story of Malcolm, a rat who is rather small and is mistaken for a mouse, takes a turn. The other classroom pets meet at midnight. They have club with rules and regulations and goals. They also have a strong prejudice against rats. Malcolm ...more
Review by Karen, intended for young readers:

If you’ve read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, then you know that some rats can be very smart and very brave. In that book, it’s only a small group of rats who could be that way — and I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the book by telling you why. But in Malcolm at Midnight by W.H. Beck (illustrated by Brian Lies), you’ll discover that even rats NOT from NIMH can be intelligent and noble. You guessed it — I’m talking about a rat named Malcol
Kim McGee
Malcolm at Midnight is too cute! The story starts out with poor Malcolm at the pet store who is about to become food for someone's snake but has been spared because of his demure size. He is taken to a 5th grade classroom (horrors!) where
he becomes a class pet and then meets the Midnight Academy made up of all the other class pets. The Midnight Academy looks after the school and tries to protect all its members. There is a fish who spells out in pebbles messages, a backstabbing rabbit, an iguana
Munro's Kids
When Malcolm the rat is bought by a teacher to be a classroom pet, he meets the members of the Midnight Academy: a group of class pets from around the school who aim to be the eyes, ears, and whiskers of the school to keep the children safe. After a particularly grumpy bunny angrily condemns all rats as untrustworthy and spineless, Malcolm lies and claims to be a mouse in order to fit in. But when the Academy's leader Aggy goes missing and the truth about Malcolm comes out, he is the prime suspe ...more
Malcolm at Midnight had enough familiar elements to appeal to a wide audience, but it was by no means a copy of other creature-featured stories. The story attempts to pose a fantastic answer the questions that many children ask, "What happens to the school at night when we are not there? What would the classroom pets do if they could talk?" Malcolm is a smaller-than-average rat in fifth grade who is often mistaken for a mouse. He resents that because rats have such a negative reputation where mi ...more
This is a great little mystery featuring a secret society of classroom pets meeting at midnight in the school. But they are not the only ones with secrets; a teacher has lost an important item and a warped and bitter creature on the 4th floor seeks revenge for an old hurt. Malcolm seeks to become a rat of merit and valor as he unravels the secrets and sets things right.
Malcolm at Midnight, by W. H. Beck, is a delightfully engaging book. I was so glad to receive a copy in a Goodreads give away. It is a fast paced read for young readers and the beautiful illustrations will keep them entranced. Malcolm, a very small rat with shiny intelligent eyes, has newly arrived at McKenna School as the fifth grade class pet. The kids love him and the other class pets have welcomed him into their secret Midnight Academy. The problem is everyone thinks he is a cute adorable MO ...more
Malcolm's experiences inspire me to be true to my authentic self. That's the way to accomplish life's work, and to become what we're meant to become. Also, to be open to the fact that I don't always know what I think I know. What I know about someone might be true, but it isn't all there is to know.
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School librarian by day; children's writer by night. Author of the funny middle grade mystery, MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT (Houghton Mifflin, 2012). Also writes under the name Rebecca Hogue Wojahn.
More about W.H. Beck...

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“You talked to us about what kind of fifth-graders we wanted to be this year. How it was all in our choices, every minute of our days. How even grownups like you had to think about it sometimes, to be the person they wanted to be.” 4 likes
“A critter reveals his true self at midnight.” 3 likes
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