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The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez
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The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  315 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Life is confusing for Mateo Martinez. He and Johnny Ramirez don’t hang out anymore, even though they used to be best friends. He and his new friend Ashwin try to act like brave, old-time knights, but it only gets them in trouble. His parents keep telling him to hold his sister’s hand when crossing busy streets, even though she’s the one who always runs ahead.

And last night
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Carolrhoda Books
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A delightful story full of humor and heart and friends and skunks! I was happy to join Mateo Martinez, his sister, Mila, and their friend, Ashwin on their most epic quest!

Kids will really be drawn to this zany adventure! It's a perfect read for younger middle grade readers.
Victoria Coe
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a fun middle grade read! Mateo, who wants to be a knight, navigates friendship and sibling troubles as he investigates the theft of his old trike and a pair of very mysterious skunks! The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez is full of heart, action, and laugh-out-loud humor!

Highly recommend for younger middle grade readers!
Lee Malone
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book had me at page one, when Mateo looks out the window and sees two skunks stealing his old bike. And it just goes downhill from there....not only does ths aspiring knight need to protect his neighborhood from bike-stealing wildlife, he also has to deal with the shifting landscape of his school friendships, plus an irritating little sister. The story takes place in Santa Barbara and the setting and the dynamics of the people who live there are well-drawn and believable (well, except for t ...more
Lois Sepahban
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Best friends Mateo and Ashwin confront bullies and thieving skunks in this fun middle grade novel.

Their war, inspired by medieval battle tactics in their favorite book, Medieval Weapons and Warfare, is tension-filled and exciting.

Young readers will love this book!
Jenn Bishop
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For fourth-grader Mateo, the weirdest thing he's struggling with is the fact that his new best friend is Ashwin, not Johnny, who held that prized spot in the years before. But everything changes when he spies something so crazy he can't tell anyone else about or they'll think HE's crazy: two skunks--no, TALKING skunks--stealing his old trike. Huh?

Knight-obsessed Mateo struggles to decide who to talk to about what he saw. His parents? Ashwin? His little sister (and new owner of the now-missing t
Casey Lyall
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

THE MIDNIGHT WAR OF MATEO MARTINEZ is a delightful read! It's full of surprises (and I mean, SURPRISES) and tons of laughs. Touching moments abound as well. Mateo and his younger sister Mila have a relationship that is realistic, sweet and funny. The friendships in the book beautifully illustrate the complicated dynamics that exist at any age. I loved how Mateo discovered for himself what being honourable and brave could m
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
Fun and full of magical adventure while exploring realistic friendship dynamics along the way.
THE MIDNIGHT WAR OF MATEO MARTINEZ by Robin Yardi tells the captivating story of a boy who encounters anthropomorphic skunks in his neighborhood.

When two talking skunks steal his old trike, Mateo, his little sister Mila, and his friend Ashwin must work together to figure out what’s happening in their neighborhood late at night.

This story about friendship and family will appeal to middle grade readers who enjoy a bit of magical realism in their stories.

Librarians will find this quick-read to be
Cheryl Blackford
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez is a funny, sweet, fast-paced adventure for the younger middle-grade set. Beginning with an astonishing incident that pulls you right into the story - skunks stealing a tricycle for heaven's sake - the story follows Mateo as he tries to solve the mystery of the skunks and ends with a rollicking battle with a gang of thuggish raccoons. Intertwined with the plot is Mateo's emotional journey as he navigates the shifting allegiances of middle school and learns to l ...more
Scott Fillner
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fun read which includes loads of imagination, standing up for yourself and others, and grand plans to defend your prize possessions.

This will be a great book to discuss the differences between fantasy and realism in stories. I can already tell I will have 4th grade boys and girls jousting over this one.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ten-year old Mateo Martinez must be going crazy. After he sees two skunks ride off with his old trike in the middle of the night, and then he hears them . . . talk?

But talking skunks are the least of his problems. Between getting blamed for his sister running on ahead when Mateo is supposed to be holding her hand, to figuring out why Johnny isn't his best friend anymore, to getting used to his new best friend, Ashwin, who does some weird stuff, not to mention the bully who won't leave them alone
Kathleen Glasgow
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What?? Talking skunks steal Mateo's trike? Yes, you heard that right. And that's just the beginning of this utterly charming, humorous, tender-hearted middle grade novel. Knight-obsessed Mateo must forge ahead through the confusing landscape of friendship and family as he struggles to find his footing in this gentle story. A beautiful debut with heart and soul that is perfect for younger readers and their parents. This is a story for everyone.

Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, compact read! Mateo is a boy who aspires to two things: becoming an honorable knight as in the days of old, and solving the mystery of his tricycle's theft--which seems to be the work of skunks? Full of laugh out loud humor and realistic sibling and friendship experiences, THE MIDNIGHT WAR OF MATEO MARTINEZ is a charming addition to the middle grade fold.
Lesley Burnap
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Adorable book with honorable knights, an amazing little sister, troublesome raccoons, a curmudgeonly neighbor, and 2 "little stinkers"! Great messages on friendship and working together! RA for grade 2 & up. Independent read for grade 3+. ...more
The type of alternative book report I chose was "Choose a character you would like (or not like) as a friend. Tell why."

The character I chose was Mateo Martinez. There were other characters such as his 5-year-old sister, Mila and his new best friend Ashwin as well as the "bike bullies". The other characters did not have the type of integrity, loyalty, and bravery like fourth grader Mateo Martinez exhibited in this story. Integrity, loyalty, and bravery are just a few of the qualities I look for
Mark Buxton
Sep 11, 2020 rated it liked it
My name is Mateo, and I watched two skunks steal my little sister's trike (which is really mine) in the middle of the night. I knew my parents would never believe that story, but I never thought they'd actually think I could be responsible for the neighborhood thefts. I staked out the yard a couple days later and spotted the skunks again. They could talk! My sister saw them too, so now I have to include her in my quest to catch them. I can't tell my old best friend about them, and I need to avoi ...more
Mary Sanchez
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fourth grader, Mateo Martinez, and his new friend, Ashwin, are so infatuated with being knights that their school librarian has set limits as to how often they can check out their favorite knighthood book. Mateo has even named his new bike, Steed, even though he can't seem to let go of his old trike which his little sister, Mila wants.

Then, one night Mateo sees the trike get stolen by some skunks--TALKING SKUNKS! Mateo tries to solve the mystery alone, but gradually Ashwin and Mila get involved
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
My 10 year old son finished this book last night and immediately declared it his new favorite book and insisted that I read it. Well, when my kids react like that to a book then I immediately read it so we can discuss it while it's fresh for them. So I took the morning off and dove in. From the first sentence I was hooked, "Nobody believed me when I said two skunks stole my old trike." Mateo is a kick and his relationship with both his best friend and his little sister really make the story. I l ...more
Another book read for school. It really is a different feeling when you analyze a book academically. Will likely re-read this again for leisure in the future.

Kind of wish it was longer and had more emphasis on Mexican culture. Similar to my experience with reading Hour of the Bees, I felt it lacked depth on something that was supposed to be a heavy theme. It definitely could have had better inclusion if the book wasn't so short. This was also a bit too juvenile for me but kids would definitely l
Jun 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
This b0ok was incredibly boring. It took me a long time to get through it. My students won't read it and I regret buying it for the library. The story crosses genres : realistic fiction and fantasy. There seemed to be two different stories going on in this book. One about talking skunks (fantasy) and the other about bullies, new friendships and lost friendships (realistic fiction). Neither story blended together (in my opinion). There is a lack of focus. I wish the author had focused on the real ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I picked up this ARC because of the beautiful cover design and the fact that there are skunks that steal a trike.

This charming book packs a bunch of life lessons about growing up, loyalty, friendship, bravery and honor into 165 pages. There is a good balance between serious and whimsical. Robin Yardi creates very relatable characters and captures what it's like to be a fourth grader.

This would make an excellent middle reader book club choice (in fact, my ARC came with a discussion guide).
Claire Fayers
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely, funny book for younger middle grade readers. There are plenty of laughs and slapstick humour in a bizarre adventure involving bike-stealing skunks. It's not all about humour, though - Mateo's attempts to navigate changing friendships and family dynamics give the book real heart, especially his friendship with Ashwin and his relationship with his annoying little sister.
Alison Shelley
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read middle grade fiction with an eye out for picks for my fourth and fifth grade book club. This is a keeper! I loved the diversity, social problems, and family issues all discussed neatly in a fun story about skunk thieves.
Clare Doornbos
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Authentic nine-year-old voices, thought processes and concerns make this book a great read. Add in talking skunks and a little sister who's a secret weapon and this book is all win. Fantastic.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Talking skunks that steal a trike... and a boy's mission to get it back. :0
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Talking skunks, best friends and a "secret weapon"-- a fun read for kids!
One night Mateo sees a couple of skunks stealing his old tricycle. Of course no one believes him. His family thinks he has hidden the tricycle so his little sister won't get it. So Mateo finds the skunks and discovers they talk!

Mateo is also having problems at school. His old best friend Johnny has moved on and become friends with the class bully. Mateo has befriended Ashwin, but they are kind of loaners at school. They are both interested in knights and medieval weaponry though.

Mateo and Ashw
3.5 stars (joins the ranks of people saying "When do we get half stars, GoodReads?)

Cute story, perfect for upper elementary school readers who want something quirky.

Mateo is already annoyed that his parents want him to give his little sister his old tricycle. He's tired of having to watch after her and share with her. To top it off, his ex-friend Johnny has joined a group of bullies who pick on his new friend Ashwin. But he doesn't have time for that right now, because as he sits looking out th
Hannah Monroe
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
Something strange has been going on in Mateo Martinez’s neighborhood, and people are starting to blame him. Mateo is a 9-year-old Mexican-American boy living in Santa Barbara, California. He is experiencing some forth grade woes, mainly his long-time best friend Johnny has ditched him since they are in different classes this year. When Mateo’s old trike gets taken by two skunks, he and his new friend, Ashwin, take on a knightly mission to solve the neighborhood mischief. But the two boys can’t w ...more
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This middle-grade book tells a fun story of mystery, sibling responsibility and rivalry, friends past and present, knights, talking skunks, and sneaky raccoons. Mateo is a very relatable character for any number of reasons--his relationships with his little sister and parents, how he is perceived by the adults in his life, his parents' education levels, his language skills, and so on.

I received this book at NCTE 2017. This has been my favorite book from the convention by far--it left me feeling
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Robin Yardi lives in the California foothills, where—every once in a while, in the dark of night—a skunk or two will sneak by and an owl will hoot. She loves good stories, odd animals, homemade cakes, and kids.

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