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The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez
Cover of The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez
The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez
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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...
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...
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  • 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. And last night, two skunks stole Mateo's old trike. Wait—two skunks stole his trike? Mateo is too big for that rusty kid toy. He has a cool, shiny new bike anyway. But Mateo also has a neighborhood to protect. And he's about to begin a big, stinky quest to catch the thieves in the middle of the night! As Mateo protects his neighborhood, he also learns a few things about growing up and letting go.

About the Author-

  • Robin Yardi is a children's book author and a California credentialed teacher. She lives in the hills of Santa Barbara with too many pets and just the right number of children.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 4, 2016
    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.

  • School Library Journal

    "A middle grade story with a smidgen of fantasy, in which the intrepid protagonist tackles new and old friendships, his sense of belonging and letting go, and the unbelievable disappearance of his beloved trike. Mateo Martinez is a fourth grader who swears that his trike was stolen by two talking skunks. His family, younger sister Mila, and new best friend Ashwin bear with Mateo's claim and believe they are dreams, because Mateo constantly dreams of being a medieval knight. From confronting bullies at school and coping with Johnny not being his best friend anymore to strengthening his friendship with Ashwin, Mateo must embark on a quest to figure out who he is, while tracking down the stinky creatures who stole his trike. In this debut novel, Yardi draws parallels between the fantasy world of talking animals and Mateo's reality of growing up and finding himself. Throughout the book, the protagonist confronts internal battles about being Mexican American but not being able to speak Spanish as well as his views of race and ethnicity and who belongs in his neighborhood and in the occupied city of Santa Barbara. On this particular point, the author doesn't expand much. VERDICT: A fun, action-filled tale whose protagonist has a distinct and sincere young voice. Recommended for collections and libraries that serve a lower middle grade population."—School Library Journal

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    Lerner Publishing Group
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