Midnight at Moonstone by Lara Flecker and Illustrated by Trisha Krauss

Published by Oxford University Press

MIDNIGHT at Moonstone is a pleasure to read, a story brought to life by intricate illustrations, hope, community and just a little bit of magic. It depicts the life of a 12-year-old girl, Kit Halliwell, who feels as though she doesn’t fit in with her family and is looking for proof that she can be different yet still valued. She finds this and so much more when she decides to change the monotony of her life and go to visit her mysterious and estranged grandfather in search for answers about herself and her mother.

Kit’s father is a genius scientist, famous for his educational programmes and his oldest children Rosalind and Albert are similarly accomplished. It seemed that his intellectual gifts would continue in his legacy, however his youngest Kit has yet to show the same promise. Afraid to disappoint her father she hides a rejection letter rejecting from a prestigious secondary school, aware that her love for art and craft would never be good enough for him when compared to the academic and career successes of her siblings.

When her father goes off on a business trip she decides not to stay with babysitters and her siblings and instead runs off to her grandfather’s costume museum.

She had hoped to be welcomed with open arms by a family member who would show her the truth to her mother’s side, where she could learn more about art and fashion and finally feel accepted. What she instead finds is a crumbling museum of mannequins in dirty and torn period styles, with barely any visitors and a bitter old man with no care to take on an overly eager child.

At first she is disheartened by his begrudging acceptance of her rebellious journey to the Moonstone Costume Museum but that all changes when the clock strikes midnight. Kit quickly discovers that this old place is more than it seems on the surface and each night, the mannequins from across the world and time come to life, bustling through the halls in search of one lost friend.

There are almost no children among them, only Fenella, a selectively mute girl around her own age, and a missing girl around three or four for whom they have all been wandering each room through the nights to search for.

Distraught by this news and attached to her new and exciting, if eccentric, friends Kit takes it upon herself to help them find this missing girl but that is not the only problem facing Moonstone.

The museum is facing the possibility of being sold by the council, putting the fate of all the costumes and her family’s legacy at risk. Despite her grandfather’s hopelessness, she decides to fix up the costumes and the museum to prove to the inspectors the museum is worth keeping and it’s up to her to rally her moonlight team and breathe new life into this extraordinary place.

This story truly is about hope and mending that which seems hopeless, whether it’s family relationships or a supernatural museum.