cover image Marvin and the Moths

Marvin and the Moths

Matthew Holm and Jonathan Follett, illus. by Matthew Holm. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-545-87674-2

Babymouse illustrator Holm and Follett met in middle school, and this alternately goofy and suspenseful story introduces Marvin Watson, whose own middle school experience is off to a poor start. He splits his gym shorts in front of his class on his first day, his parents are distracted by their new baby, and Marvin’s rich and popular cousin, Little Stevie, mocks his every move. After Marvin’s parents move him up to the unfinished attic so Baby Harry can have Marvin’s room, vials from one of Marvin’s science experiments mysteriously empty overnight, leading Marvin to discover three enormous and talkative moths—Artistotle, Abraham, and Ahab. Marvin makes a few human friends in addition to the moths, but interludes between chapters reveal a Shakespeare-quoting killer draining the blood of local animals. As that mystery deepens, the laughs come often, thanks to the banter among the moths and the oddball, pork-centric setting of Butcherville, home to the famous Pork Loaf Log Roll and streets “like swanky Loin Lane and the unfortunately titled Butt Boulevard.” Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Sept.)