Marvin and the Moths

Marvin and the Moths
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
September 27, 2016
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Middle school is off to a rocky start for Marvin Watson. Doomed to misfit status, his only friends are a girl with major orthodontics, the smelliest boy in school, and the trio of sarcastic man-sized moths that live in his attic.

No one said middle school would be easy! Also, no one said that Marvin's town would be threatened by mutant bugs, including a very hungry, Shakespeare-quoting spider. But life in the suburbs is full of surprises. Will Marvin be the one to unravel the mystery behind the mutants and save the town? Or will he be too busy with the real threat: his first school dance?!

Editor review

1 review
Beware the Elephant Vampire!
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Between his new baby brother and his disastrous first day of school that resulted in his underwear being on display, Marvin has it rough. To make matters worse, he gets moved to the attic of his home so that his baby brother can have a room. The house is an older one, and the attics of many of the homes are joined together. This makes for great exploring, but Marvin is very surprised to find three giant moths living close to him! They are sentient and very smart, having spent a lot of time reading the encyclopedia. Marvin manages to secure an unsteady place for himself at school with friends Lee (who has a bad body odor problem) and Fatima (who has head gear and a leg brace, and bedecks herself with all manner of technological devices). The three are working on a science project that aims to discover the cause of Lee's odor, and they quickly discover it is tied to the town's biggest product-- Pork Loaf. Since nearly everyone in town has a vested interest in pork loaf, it's hard to recommend that Lee not eat it. Soon, however, there are bigger problems-- the local celebrity elephant, Big 'Un, is killed by what appears to be a vampire! Marvin, Lee, and Fatima all celebrate, and hope to keep the elephant vampire from marauding during the upcoming harvest dance. The moths help as much as they can, but are they actually the problem?
Good Points
Like Silberberg's Pond Scum or Lubar's Lawn Weenie books, Marvin and the Moths is silly fun. Holms has honed his middle grade chops illustrating Baby Mouse and Squish books, and there are a few pictures in this, although not nearly as many as there should be!

Marvin's group is a bit stereotypical-- a band of outcasts who can save the world as well as surprise everyone at the dance. The moths are probably the result of a science project, but it's easy to suspend belief and accept their presence in the attic. The "elephant vampire" supplies the needed dramatic tension, and I liked the fact that the moths were somewhat suspect. After all, they did quite a number on Marvin's sweaters!

While older middle grade readers might find this too be a bit too goofy, younger readers will laugh at Lee's atomic level stink (which is also used to good effect in warding off the vampire!), Marvin's embarassing moments at school, and the epic battle with the monster. The formatting of the book keeps the reader in mind with larger text and scattered illustrations. Any reader attracted to the moths wielding kitchen implements on the cover will enjoy this epic romp that features lunch meet, sentient insects, and good friends.
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