August 2023

Every Night at Midnight

By Peter Cheong
Review by
Whether you read it as an allegory or simply a boy’s nighttime adventures as a wolf, Every Night at Midnight resonates with beauty and heart.
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In the daytime world, Felix struggles to fit in with his classmates at school. But in the nighttime landscape, he runs free as a wolf. Felix tells himself he is perfectly OK with this dichotomy. But maybe, deep down, a part of him wishes for more than just OK. Inviting and creative, Peter Cheong’s first book as author and illustrator is both a tale of nighttime adventures and a heartwarming metaphor for finding one’s place in the world.

Every Night at Midnight bounces between day and night, contrasting Felix’s two worlds and identities. Daytime is open and bright, with delightful school chaos that feels homey and inviting. His classmates are cheerful, their faces kind. Nevertheless, it’s clear that school is not a safe place for Felix; the white space that surrounds these illustrations highlights his loneliness and separation from his classmates. Meanwhile, at night, the catawampus houses, streets and sky collide in a pseudo-gothic mashup in deep blues and grays. Lights shine from windows while Felix, in wolf form, roams the roofs and balconies and empty streets, encapsulating the freedom of escape—just like a dream in which you’re flying. Cheong’s style is consistently appealing, but his nighttime scenes are especially engaging.

Felix’s narration balances a somewhat somber tone with earnestness, conveying his cool bravado as well as his underlying hesitation and longing. Every Night at Midnight has plenty of company on bookshelves alongside other children’s stories about fitting in, but Felix’s wolf-transformation is as unique in detail as it is universal. We all know the feeling of pretending to be confident in solitude while wishing we could join the group. We’ve all had moments of rejoicing in our uniqueness while yearning to share it with someone who understands. 

Felix has a big imagination and splendid ideas, but his wolf life also represents the things that hold us back—things that, while making us exceptional and inimitable, also separate us from others. Whether you read it as an allegory or simply a story about flying dreams, Every Night at Midnight resonates with beauty and heart.

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Every Night at Midnight

Every Night at Midnight

By Peter Cheong
ISBN 9781665917384

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