Malcolm has spent nearly all his life at the Pet Emporium. Customers looking for feeder rats tend to purchase they largest rat available, and Malcolm is small for his size. So small, in fact, that when Mr. Binney comes into the store looking for a pet for his fifth grade class, he assumes that Malcolm is a mouse.
Although Malcolm resents his mistaken identity, he knows it has saved his life. Thus, when he meets the other pets at McKenna School he allows them to think he is a mouse as well. If they knew the truth they might not admit him into the Midnight Academy, a team of school pets that patrols the classrooms and hallways after hours. Malcolm wants desperately to have friends and help the Academy in their mission. Unfortunately, H.B. the rabbit suspects the truth and seems determined to prove that Malcolm cannot be trusted. A missing iguana and devious stray cat complicate Malcolm’s already precarious relationship with his fellow creatures. Now he must rescue the iguana and uncover the cat’s plot before he is framed for a crime he did not commit.
W.H. Beck’s first novel is sure to please animal and mystery lovers alike. Told by one of Mr. Binney’s students, Malcolm’s story takes some unexpected twists and turns. The author intersperses advanced vocabulary with definitions in a clever, unobtrusive manner. Malcolm himself is a student. Not only does he demonstrate loyalty and courage, but he learns that true friends will accept him as he really is.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.