You may remember that my 11-year-old has entered the reviewing world.…..well, here is another review from the marvelous M!
I was sent a middle grade animal adventure series to review called The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht, and my daughter immediately grabbed the books and asked to read them first. I let her take them after giving them my librarian page-through, since I can never say no to a kid desperate to read! The full book descriptions are included below our thoughts, along with more information on Fabled Films and several of their Nocturnals-related initiatives.
As you can see in the picture below, my daughter gave The Nocturnals Book 1: The Mysterious Abductions 4 out of 5 stars! She is currently reading Book 2 and has Book 3 up next.
From a librarian viewpoint, I love the premise of this series as there is no animal word that every single elementary student knows the meaning of as well as the word “nocturnal” – it’s so funny! Kids love animals, and almost every nonfiction magazine or article about animals somehow ends up covering this term and group of animals. The three main characters in this series are a fox, a pangolin, and a sugar glider and the adventures take place in their nighttime world. They meet other nocturnals such as an aye-aye and a tuatara in the course of the series. I definitely plan to book talk this series in my library classes with a brief visual and factual introduction on all of these animals, as that will immediately hook readers.
These books are written in typical chapter book format, and feature a color illustration with each chapter heading. This is a great addition, as more and more middle grade stories are including illustrations of some kind. Vocabulary in these books is higher than in some middle grade, so I plan to introduce these to my fourth and fifth graders first. The animals have charming ways of speaking, and I love Bismark the sugar gliders formal eloquence.
I love when I get sent quality books like these for review, since the finished copies end up in my school library! These will be added to my collection over the summer, just in time for the new school year.
Here is the official information about the series:
The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht; illustrated by Kate Liebman
Book One: The Mysterious Abductions (Now Available)
“The characters are delightful and the nighttime landscape is captivating. It was just as I expected—because the best stories always take place in the dark!” — R.L. Stine
In the first book of the critically acclaimed middle grade series The Nocturnals, we meet three unlikely friends—Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint sized sugar glider. Discover the friendships, teamwork, and humor, as the Nocturnal Brigade solves the unpredictable mysteries of the night.
In The Mysterious Abductions, animals are disappearing without a trace. With the help of a gentle wombat, a jittery jerboa, a band of coyotes and some kooky bats, the brigade journeys to the depths of the earth where they find themselves in a wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival!
Book Two: The Ominous Eye (Now Available)
Join Dawn, Bismark and Tobin as they set out to investigate the source of a violent jolt that fractures the earth! Along their journey, the Nocturnal Brigade meets an unfamiliar reptile—a tuatara named Polyphema—who reveals that a giant beast caused the destruction and will soon strike again. Polyphema with her special insights, is the only one who can help the Nocturnal Brigade stop this fearsome predator… but can she be trusted? With help from an owl, the jerboas, and some kiwis, the animals set a trap since surrender is not an option against this relentless beast.
Book Three: The Fallen Star (Just released – official pub date is May 2nd)
In The Fallen Star, Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark awaken one evening to a disaster: all of the forest’s pomelos have been mysteriously poisoned! As the Nocturnal Brigade sets out to investigate, they encounter Iris, a mysterious aye-aye, who claims monsters from the moon are to blame. While the three heroes suspect a more earthly explanation, the animals of the valley are all falling ill. And then Tobin gets sick, too! The Nocturnal Brigade must race to find answers, and the cure, before the pomelo blight threatens to harm them all.
With the publication of The Fallen Star, Tracey Hecht will continue the nationwide Nocturnals’ Read Aloud Writing Program that was created in partnership with The New York Public Library (NYPL) and expanded professionally through an American Association of School Librarians’ Webinar. At the American Library Association Midwinter meeting, Fabled Films Press launched a “Read Aloud Not Alone” nationwide campaign for middle graders and has created a Nocturnals Read Aloud Blog (https://nocturnalsworldreadaloud.tumblr.com/) to provide research that supports the benefits of reading aloud and inspiration through recorded audio excerpts.
You can find more about the series, Tracey Hecht, and Fabled Films Press at: