The Midnight Thief

Authored by Sylvia Bishop
Illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino
Published by Scolastic

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The Midnight Thief is a tale about friendship, problem solving and the normal anxieties that children face.

Freya, the main character, resides in a boarding school where she has difficulties fitting in and confirming.  We learn of the grotesque characteristics of her teachers and fellow students,  the vastness of the old building and the strange traditions within boarding school life.

Her mundane life takes an extraordinary turn when she becomes fascinated with the bats who live within the school.  This new hobby introduces her to twins who have a nocturnal lifestyle and ,with her help, play a pivotal role in solving the mystery at the centre of the story ( the disappearance of the schools priceless artifacts; the Eldrida dragons).

At the end of each chapter is a piece written from the perspective of a different nocturnal creature and this is fascinating as it describes how these mini beasts are involved in the story and what their world is like.

The illustrations were wonderful and added a great detail which bought the story to life as it progressed and added another dimension to the characters.

Throughout my reading life, I’ve come across many stories about girls who live in boarding schools and this intertexuality gave me comfort in each page.  Many of the issues that Freya faces as the tale evolves will be familiar to key stage 2 readers as will the developing friendships.  It is a well written story and has magical qualities as it describes the awe of life in an old building with quaint traditions.  However, the characters needed more development. For instance, the bat like qualities the twins had were fascinating but were never really explored in detail. This, for me, would have added to the complexity of the book. If a sequel was written, I would also like to find out more about the creatures described at the end of each chapter.

The Midnight Thief will appeal to pupils in lower key stage 2 and may fit nicely when read in conjunction with science projects about mini beasts.