The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez

Robin Yardi. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (184p) ISBN 978-1-4677-8306-4
Mateo Martinez, a Mexican-American fourth grader, is tired of having to keep an eye on his five-year-old sister, Mila, and is having social troubles at school: his former best friend, Johnny, has started running around with a group of boys who torment Mateo and his new friend/fellow aspiring knight, Ashwin. But these fairly ordinary concerns pale next to the inexplicable thing Mateo sees one night: two talking skunks stealing his old tricycle. Mateo’s quest to reclaim the trike morphs into a knight-worthy “righteous mission” when he learns that the skunks need it in order to defeat raccoons who invade the playground and bully them at night. Though the lead-up to the animals’ battle for the playground is drawn out, readers will be tickled by details of the skunks’ military culture (include several declassified documents that reveal the results of their “Midnight War”). Picture book author Yardi (They Just Know: Animal Instincts), in her first novel, delivers an entertaining story of sibling loyalty, friendship struggles, and the sometimes vexing passage into adolescence. Ages 8–12. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-1-5415-1483-6
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