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Join us for a flabbergastifying adventure under the stars!

Meet the Nocturnals

“We can be bold in adventure.
We can be brave in challenge.
We can be friends.”

The Nocturnals features three unlikely friends: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint sized sugar glider. The stories all play out in their nighttime world with teamwork, friendship and humor in every adventure.

Bismark

Bismark is a self-centered romantic with an unrequited love for Dawn. As a sugar glider he is capable of using his arm flaps to glide through the forests, though not of true flight. He takes great pride in his many talents, including his fondness for inserting foreign phrases into conversations, and maintains that sugar gliders are a superior species. His grandiose opinion of himself is in no way compensation for his, eh-hem, rather diminutive size.

Dawn

Dawn is the fearless leader of the Nocturnal Brigade. With her wits, strength, and poise, she serves as the anchor to her more excitable companions. Her past is a painful subject, and she keeps her emotions under a lid—though this does not keep her from enjoying herself from time to time. Dawn will usually try and resolve conflicts with a stern look or common sense, but when push comes to shove, she will lead the attack.

Tobin

Tobin is a sweet, bumbling pangolin with a big appetite and a bigger heart. His short-legged, anteater-like body is covered in a tough layer of scales that fit together like the petals of an artichoke. When scared, which happens rather often, he releases a defensive odor from the scent glands on his rear end. His unconditional love for Bismark and Dawn is always enough to override his fear of the unknown, and he is fiercely loyal to his friends and the mission of helping others.

Join the Nocturnal Brigade

Join the Nocturnal Brigade and receive a Free Brigade Cape for your Stuffed Animal!

Early Reader & Middle Grade Books

The Mysterious Abductions

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 Mysterious Abductions, the animals form a brigade of the night after a random encounter with a blood-thirsty snake, and just in time because something is threatening their night realm. Animals are disappearing without a trace. Together with the help of a wombat, a band of coyotes and many others, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark journey to the depths of the earth in a wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival. (middle grade book)

Meet the Creative Team

Tracey Hecht - Author

Tracey is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

Kate Liebman - Artist

Kate is an artist who lives and works in New York City. She graduated from Yale University, contributes to the Brooklyn Rail, and has shown her work at multiple galleries. She grew up in Santa Monica, California.

Praise for The Mysterious Abductions

A delightful adventure about the power of uncommon traits and the joys of newfound friendship.
Kirkus Reviews
The characters are humorous and well developed, and the fast-moving plot features intrigue, unexpected twists, and the innovative hybrid hockey game. Accessible to upper elementary while sufficiently sophisticated for middle school, this new animal fantasy series should prove popular.
Booklist
Fabled Films Press Partners with NYPL on Read-Aloud Initiative: The novel, which introduces three unlikely animal friends who team up to combat forces threatening their nighttime world, is the cornerstone of the publisher’s middle-grade read-aloud and writing program with the New York Public Library.
Publishers Weekly
Tracey Hecht’s first novel is an appealing page-turner for middle-school readers, combining a likable cadre of unusual animal characters with fast-paced, clever dialogue and, of course, plenty of suspense.
BookPage
This is an adventure worth reading, filled with excitement, danger, suspense and surprise. Each chapter begins with a small illustration and the language is clear and easy to understand.
School Library Connection
Funny, smart, and clever, The Nocturnals is the ideal series for any animal-loving adventurer. The fast-paced mystery will pull readers in and the fun animal facts will teach them something new. Nocturnals fills an all too-important niche of enjoyable stories with an educational twist.
Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith, Boston, MA
The characters are charming and the story is well-crafted… The Nocturnals will be enjoyed by kids who like intrigue, environmental issues and animals.
Kris Vreeland, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA
The Nocturnals has a great core group of characters with a funny back and forth that is very appealing. I love the fast pace with lots of action, as well as the facts about the animals sprinkled throughout (I learned a lot about creatures I had never even heard of!)
Karen Rosenthal, Children and Young Adult Events Coordinator, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT
A thoughtful pangolin, a chatty sugar glider, and a wise fox band together to form a Nocturnal Brigade. Their first mission is to find out what is happening to the animals that have been disappearing. They will search high and low, encounter questionable companions and engage in a game of nocs versus crocs until the mystery is solved. A charming story that will have readers anxious to revisit these characters on their next adventure.
Lisa Fabiano, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA
The Nocturnals is so sweet! What a great cast of characters! I found myself reading some parts aloud.
Whitney Berger, The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT
A charming, funny, and intriguing title for middle grade readers, produced with wonderfully quirky color art throughout, The Nocturnals tells the story of night-active animals who discover that their kind are suddenly going missing. The characters -- including a Pepe Le Pew-like sugar glider, a sweetly self-effacing pangolin, and a beautiful and wise soft-spoken fox -- work together to solve the mysterious disappearances. Readers are left wanting more stories about these unique characters and luckily there are more in the works!
Francine Lucidon, The Voracious Reader, Larchmont, NY
Kids will love the adventures of Dawn the fox, Tobin the pangolin, and Bismark the sugar glider. Their wacky friendship (and snarky competitiveness) serve them well in their adventures and struggles against the dangers of the night. Sophisticated vocabulary (“Botanical beasts! Plants of pestilence!”) and multilingual phrases pepper the critters’ dialogue, and it’s great to anticipate that several subsequent volumes will continue the Nocturnals’ adventures.
Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
Tracey Hecht’s middle-grade story features an appealing animal escapade, delightful dialogue, and humorous hijinks—making it a perfect choice for reading aloud, small group discussions, or independent reading. The engaging plot will reel in both reluctant and proficient readers as they root for the underdog in a winner-take-all sports competition.
Cyndi Giorgis, Professor of Children’s Literature, College of Education, The University of Texas at El Paso
The Nocturnals will appeal to readers of The Magic Tree House series. Teachers and less experienced readers will love the short chapters and the easily followed plot structure. This book could also be used in the classroom for reader’s theater as it is very dialogue heavy and there are so many characters with such varied personalities. I look forward to meeting other varieties of nocturnal animals.
Mary Brown, Books Bytes & Beyond, NJ
The Nocturnals invite us into a world a little dark, a lot funny, and enormously heartfelt. These friends are brave and affectionate and I rooted for them as I bit my nails. The fact that they are a fox, a pangolin and a sugar glider makes it all the more delightful.
Beth Albrecht, Magic Tree Books, Oak Park, IL
What do you get when you combine a gassy pangolin, a loud-mouth sugar-glider, a wise fox, a fearful wombat, 4 chattering bats, and 3 fearsome wolves? The Nocturnals! Avengers of the night! My goodness! Mon dieu! This hilarious, informative, and heartwarming story of friendship and honor will intrigue any young reader interested in animals or who just wants a great read
Chelsa Lauderdale, Mrs. Dalloway’s, Berkeley, CA
What a fun read-aloud! My two kids were excited to climb into bed each night and continue the adventure with the Nocturnal Brigade. High praise, indeed, we all know what bedtime is like without a great book.
Deirdre Birmingham, Watchung Booksellers, NJ
If you've got a kid who loves animal stories (especially starring animals other than the "usual suspects"), or mysteries, or funny books, or books about hockey (yes, hockey!), this is the novel for him or her.”
Debbie McLeod, Children's Literature Professor, Johnson County Community College, Kansas
Bringing together a crew of nocturnal creatures -- many of the animals unfamiliar to me, but that was part of the fun -- Tracey Hecht succeeds in drawing in the reader in as they battle for freedom from a team of menacing crocs and their leader, Boris.
Karen Kessel, Librarian at Colleyville Elementary School, Colleyville, TX
An enjoyable romp with cinematic flair and bold, eccentric characters joining together for a perilous journey.
Allison Gray, Santa Barbara, California Library System
Middle grade readers will devour this animal fantasy/melodrama filled with action aplenty, punctilious puns, and charming characters— a mix of brains, heart, and bravado.
Stephanie Bange, Educational Resource Center Director, Wright State University
This adorable animal adventure will have readers laughing over Bismark's enthusiastic confidence, quickly befriending sweet Tobin, and admiring fierce Dawn. Each character is one you won't soon forget!
Samantha Randolph, Staff Reviewer at YABC
An unforgettable nighttime adventure about friendship and teamwork. The Nocturnals is a tale of how a brave group of unlikely woodland friends come together to solve the mysterious abductions of their fellow animal friends.
Katie Bartow, founder of Mundie Moms and Mundie Kids
Animal lovers will adore this quirky, adventuresome menagerie. With distinct voices and heavy doses of humor, this is one book that begs to be read aloud.
Shara Zaval, Editorial Manager, Kidsreads.com

Early Reader & Middle Grade Books

The Ominous Eye

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

When a violent jolt fractures the earth, the Nocturnal Brigade sets out to investigate its source. Along their journey, Dawn, Bismark, and Tobin meet 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 them 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. (middle grade book)

Meet the Creative Team

Tracey Hecht - Author

Tracey is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

Kate Liebman - Artist

Kate is an artist who lives and works in New York City. She graduated from Yale University, contributes to the Brooklyn Rail, and has shown her work at multiple galleries. She grew up in Santa Monica, California.

Praise for The Ominous Eye

Hecht continues to charm readers with delightfully drawn characters and consistent suspense. Bismark's trademark, multilingual adulations fuel both Dawn's eye-rolls and readers' chuckles. Tobin remains cautiously adventurous. His quiet remarks and social perceptiveness ground Bismark's slapstick and elicit warmth from Dawn's cool leadership. Each animal, from the common to the exotic, shines with quirky personalities and endearing traits. A welcome return of the colorful and curious trio—their next can't arrive soon enough. (Fantasy. 9-12)
Kirkus Reviews
In this satisfying second installment...our heroes are there to save the day, and, as in the first volume, when they uncover Polyphema’s underlying motives, learn about an important issue—this time, protecting endangered species. Returning fans will be rewarded with the expected engaging plot twists, plenty of humor, Bismarck’s unrequited mooning over Dawn, and reaffirmation of the trio’s mutual loyalty and friendship.
Booklist
The Ominous Eye explores how friendships can change, first (and second) impressions aren't always correct, and fear shouldn't stop you from doing what's right. Fans of The Nocturnals will devour this latest adventure with new characters and a thrilling mystery.
Samantha Randolph, Staff Reviewer at YA and Kids Book Central (YABC)
All the A's a reader could ask for! Animals, adventure, adversity, action... all the elements of a good book, no matter who the audience is. Recommending this book to readers of all ages to share.
Magi Henderson, Glen Carbon Centennial Library, IL
Nocturnals is a fun animal series. This second book introduces some conflict into the small group of friends, illustrating that teamwork doesn’t always come easy, and that trust must be earned. Animal fiction fans will enjoy meeting more exotic animals in this book… This is a good follow-up to the first book, and yet newcomers to the series can jump right in without having read the first book (but read it – it’s good!). Kate Liebman’s color illustrations add to the text, giving the reader a nice frame of reference for some of these new animals he or she will meet during the course of the book.
Rosemary Kiladitis, Mom Read It
What a wonderfully unique book! The Nocturnals is the perfect blend of animal adventure and crafty mystery. Ms. Hecht gives us an opportunity to learn about Australia and nocturnal creatures while adding elements of friendship, teamwork, and playful humor. This book is a perfect read-aloud for parents and teachers with many opportunities to start engaging conversation. Heartwarming, clever and funny, The Nocturnals series is perfect to curl up with before bed. I can't wait for more in the series!
Katerina Argyros, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA
It's the return of the Nocturnal Brigade! Join the dynamic trio, Dawn, Tobin and, my personal favorite, Bismark as they search for a mysterious giant beast who is threatening to destroy all the animals in the valley! Every aspect of Tracey Hecht's writing is delightful, from her rich characters to the surprising plot twists she weaves throughout her story. She's once again given us a page turning adventure we won't soon forget.
Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore AZ
This is a great little adventure mystery story starring our beloved nocturnal animals. I absolutely love the animal characters in this book along with their capes. I can’t wait for their next adventure. Highly Recommending.
Holly Alexander, Barbara’s Bookstores, IL
Love this whimsical story of friendship, loyalty and conquering fear. Hilarious dialogue!
Susan Recker, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
Friendly, fun, enthusiastic. A truly great experience for me to meet the Nocturnal Brigade. Totally enjoyable! Thank you!
Laura Burgess, Countryside Library, Clearwater, FL
It is fun to see the relationships between the friends continue to develop. Bismark teases Tobin about releasing his defensive scent every time he is scared, Dawn continues to roll her eyes at Bismarck's outrageous flirting, and Tobin wants everyone to get along. Highly Recommending.
Suzanne Costner, Fairview Elementary School Library, Maryville, TN
Hecht writes a novel that can stand on its own and allows readers to jump right into the series and backtrack later. The characters are each unique… the reader can’t help but be invested in them. Even the so called “bad guys” have an element of sympathy and understanding about them that teaches young readers to think critically about how they treat the people around them and what might be going on in those “bad guys” lives... Hecht does a great job of tying together themes and morals centering around acceptance, understanding, and friendship.
Jaclyn Bauer, Teacher and Blogger at Centered on Books, Englewood, CO
As a teacher, I am always looking for material to bring into the classroom and I can always count on the latest Nocturnals to introduce a rare and really forgotten animal….I would recommend this book to librarians, classroom teachers, and all middle grade readers...The educational resources and interactive activities are so well planned and convenient.
I'd So Rather Be Reading Blog
There is color artwork at the beginning of each chapter which is very attractive, and not typically found in chapter books. Overall, this is an interesting story for readers who like their animal adventures on the exotic side.
Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Early Reader & Middle Grade Books

The Fallen Star

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 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. (middle grade book)

Meet the Creative Team

Tracey Hecht - Author

Tracey is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

Kate Liebman - Artist

Kate is an artist who lives and works in New York City. She graduated from Yale University, contributes to the Brooklyn Rail, and has shown her work at multiple galleries. She grew up in Santa Monica, California.

Praise for The Fallen Star

Hecht serves up both a curious adventure and interesting zoological facts in this volume. Her descriptions of flora, fauna, and natural phenomena are vivid and immediate. The multilingual and loquacious Bismark fuels a few good laughs; Tobin balances his clumsiness with limitless kindness; and brave Dawn keeps the crew focused on their mission. Likewise, the villains of the story display great depth of character. They remind readers that many times bad deeds arise from pain and mistreatment in the past. Fresh and fun: the brigade delights as it explores another forest mystery.
Kirkus Reviews
The third installment in this popular series has our stalwart Nocturnals Brigade attempting to find an anecdote for poisoned pomelo melons…Our heroes hold fast to their established personas: Dawn is the wise and mysterious fox; Bismark is the vainglorious sugar glider who manages to rise to even greater levels of lovable obnoxiousness, and sweet Tobin is the plodding pangolin, whose heroics involve a skunklike spray he emits when threatened…Action abounds, and almost all of the short chapters end on cliff-hangers. Once again, the trio’s mutual loyalty and dependence on each other’s unique talents—be they what they are—save the day. This is a worthy addition to the franchise.
—Booklist
Hecht knows her audience and has written a well-paced story with short chapters that keep readers hanging on to the end. The Fallen Star contains a semi-covert lesson in kindness and accepting others for who they are. The unlikely alliance of the Brigade members, animals who come from disparate ecosystems, offers an example of unique individuals forming strong friendships.
Deseret News, Utah
Readers who enjoy animal adventures such as The Guardians of Ga'Hoole may have a new series to add to their bookshelves. The Fallen Star is the third book in the series featuring the Nocturnal Brigade. The friends in the brigade have the same quirks from their other books that will make readers laugh, from Bismarck's over the top declarations of love for Dawn to Tobin's loudly grumbling stomach. There is a website for readers and educators with plenty of resources
Suzanne Costner, Library Media Specialist and Blogger, Fairview Elementary School and The Fairview Review
As with her previous two books in the series, The Mysterious Abductions and The Ominous Eye, Hecht does her best to weave science facts, literary conventions, and a rich moral foundation into The Fallen Star. Readers learn not only the names of animals, but curious facts and oddities about them as well. Hecht also includes alliteration and vocabulary in her Nocturnals series. As is always the case in The Nocturnals, messages of kindness and forgiveness are pervasive in The Fallen Star
Jaclyn Bauer, Teacher and Blogger, Centered on Books, Englewood, CO
The lovable group of Nocturnal sleuths is back in their third adventure, this time with high stakes…Sweet, gentle Tobin is the source of possibly the greatest fart joke in the history of children's literature, giving readers much-needed comic relief throughout the white knuckle moments The Fallen Star is filled with. Teamwork, friendship, and determination sees the friends through this latest adventure, and there's a lovely message about tolerance that is especially important reading. Things have started taking off for Nocturnals since the first book published last year!
Rosemary Kiladitis, Librarian and Blogger, Queens Library, NY, Mom Read It Blog

Early Reader & Middle Grade Books

The Hidden Kingdom

In The Hidden Kingdom, animals in the valley start to trip on the crumbling ground beneath them, water disappears, and disembodied voices are heard. Everyone assumes the forest is under an evil spell. However, it’s a group of veiled creatures—a chameleon, stick bugs, leaf bugs, and other assorted camouflaged insects—that are upset because they want the valley’s recognition for their hard work in preventing a drought. The Nocturnal Brigade—Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark—solve this mystery and unites the forest. (middle grade book)

Meet the Creative Team

Tracey Hecht - Author

Tracey is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

Sarah Feiber - Author

Sarah Fieber is a Senior Writer at Fabled Films and has been with the Press since it’s founding. Sarah pursued her lifelong passion for writing at Yale, earned her Masters of Professional Writing at USC, and her MFA at NYU. In addition to reading and writing, Sarah loves to travel, drink copious amounts of coffee, and cuddle with her dog, Beau. She lives in New York City.

Kate Liebman - Artist

Kate is an artist who lives and works in New York City. She graduated from Yale University, contributes to the Brooklyn Rail, and has shown her work at multiple galleries. She grew up in Santa Monica, California.

Praise for The Hidden Kingdom

Wacky illustrations and another plot, that twists and turns and teeters with cliff-hangers, will keep fans enthralled.
Booklist
The series addresses bullying and empathy in an easy, accessible way, and the books are meant to be read aloud.
New York Post
This book is filled with challenging words that greatly improve vocabulary skills. This silly story has a good lesson underneath all the humor and adventure.
Children’s Book and Media Review
The theme of friendship continues to be the uniting thread in this series... good characters, great humor, and a nonstop sense of adventure will keep kids coming back for more
Rosemary Kiladitis, Queens Public Library, NY
Five Things to Like About The Hidden Kingdom: 1. They make a good parallel to the feelings and emotions coming out in kids these days. 2. The story has the protagonist and antagonist eventually trying to understand each others motives. 3. Readers will be motivated to learn more about these three species with possible extensions to science, language arts, and foreign languages. 4. A balance of text and pictures—perfect for the reluctant reader and for reading out loud. 5. Even if you aren’t a big fan of talking animal stories, this one makes you feel like you’re reading a story about a group of your own friends
Always in the Middle

Early Reader & Middle Grade Books

The Moonlight Meeting

In The Moonlight Meeting, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, Bismark, a loud-mouthed sugar glider, and Dawn, a serious fox, introduce their nighttime world to early readers. The story emphasizes friendship, sharing, and humor. Includes bonus fun facts with an animal glossary. (early reader book)

Meet the Creative Team

Tracey Hecht - Author

Tracey is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

Waymond Singleton - Illustrator

Waymond Singleton is an illustrator and animator with an adoration for stories depicting quirky characters and daring adventures. He received his BFA in Animation from Savannah College of Art and Design. He grew up in Beaufort, South Carolina and now lives in Brooklyn, where he spends his free time making short films. This is his first children’s book.

Rumur Dowling - Author

Rumur Dowling is a writer for Fabled Films Press. He studied English and creative writing at Harvard University and eighteenth-century poetry in Oxford as a Henry Fellow. When he isn’t reading and writing, he can be found playing squash and taking pictures. He now lives in his hometown of New York City. This is his first children’s book.

Praise for The Moonlight Meeting

This banter-filled early reader describes the initial meeting between shy Tobin the pangolin, brash Bismark the sugar glider, and kindhearted Dawn the fox...the pared-down narration and dialogue quickly establish their personalities, as does Singleton’s cartoon artwork, which shows the characters striking expressive poses midconflict....Hecht and Dowling successfully set the stage for more adventurous outings down the road...
Publishers Weekly
Physical characteristics, personality quirks, and the beginnings of their mutual trust and friendship are aptly portrayed through both words and pictures. A few “Nocturnals Fun Facts” at the end should help with any factual queries. Whether listening, reading along, or launching individual attempts, satisfied readers will be ready and waiting for the next installment.
Booklist
An entertaining story of friendship and sharing, and educates us about those who are different from us
Story Monsters Inc.
The Moonlight Meeting is cute and the whimsical illustrations by Waymond Singleton should help budding readers follow along and be encouraged to learn new words as they turn pages. Fun facts at the end should satisfy the interest of kids who are drawn to nonfiction. I highly recommend The Moonlight Meeting for readers aged 6 to 8 and their parents.
Mother Daughter Book Club.
It's whimsical and funny, and kids will laugh at the animals' bickering — while also learning important lessons about friendship, teamwork and problem-solving
SheKnows.com
They are very well written leaving the reader so curious and really wanting to know the end result. To have book 2 and 3 waiting will encourage this excitement and keep them reading
Parenting Healthy
I like this series because it doesn’t have the usual dogs or cats in it. There’s a pangolin, a sugar glider, and a fox. Singleton’s illustrations are great and give you a good idea of what the real animal looks like. This was a delightful read with great illustrations. The story will make your young ones smile and they’ll learn more about the animals with the bonus facts at the end.
The Book Faerie
I thought this was a really cute book. My kids all read it right after we got it in the mail. It was easy enough for my 6-year-olds to read, but still entertaining for my 9-year-old (who loves all things Nocturnal.) This is definitely a book that will be read over and over again.
Literary Time Out
The characters of the Nocturnal Brigade are charming and entertaining, and this book about their first meeting is simple but enchanting. Besides meeting these unique figures, readers will also learn about each animal, what it means to be nocturnal, and more. But the education isn’t heavy-handed, and is woven seamlessly into the context of the story (though a “Fun Facts” section at the back of the book offers some good information for readers wanting to learn more).
Novel Novice
The theme of friendship was recurring in this story, so [my son and I] talked a lot about friends at school, what it means to have a close group of friends, and to always be willing to lend a helping hand. We also discussed the differences between being a leader and being bossy- there's a fine line that can be hard for kids this age to understand. We also broached the subjects of fairness, social justice, kindness, and bullying. Amazing what kids pick up on at this age, just by reading a story
Mommy's Block Party
Told simply using a beginning reader format, sentences are short and structured and action is limited. Liberal use of artwork by Waymond Singleton supplants description and allows Hecht and Dowling to move the story ahead using dialog. Artwork is dark and at times muddy looking reminding the reader that the story is set at night. Singleton's efforts at linking the "look" for the three friends with the artwork in the fictional series is good. The first in the Grow & Read Series, this one is a strong blend of reading sight words and decoding using phonics -- very useful as a beginning reader.
–Stephanie Bange, Educational Resource Center Director, Wright State University

Early Reader & Middle Grade Books

The Slithery Shakedown

Discover the friendship and humor of the Nocturnals Brigade! In The Slithery Shakedown, three unlikely friends—Tobin, a sweet pangolin, Bismark a loud-mouther sugar glider and Dawn, a serius fox—stand up to a big bully snake. In the process, they find themselves some spec-tac-u-lar snakeskin capes! (early reader book)

Meet the Creative Team

Tracey Hecht - Author

Tracey is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

Josie Yee - Illustrator

Josie Yee is an award-winning illustrator and graphic artist specializing in children’s publishing. She received her BFA from Arizona State University and studied Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She lives in New York City with her daughter, Ana, and their cat, Dude.

Praise for The Slithery Shakedown

A pangolin, a red fox, and a sugar glider are together again in their second nighttime adventure in the series... Short sentences and much repetition throughout assist early readers as they gain a sense of accomplishment on completing this six-chapter book... The vocabulary words likely to be new to readers are introduced, including squatted, haunches, shimmery, slithered, and summoned... Beginning readers will enjoy this tale and will cheer on the threesome who defeat a bully by using their words.
School Library Journal
[The Slithery Shakedown] does not disappoint… This tale uses plenty of important vocabulary words, easily decipherable within context, while showing how friends who stick together can facedown even the meanest bully… Vivid illustrations pop off crisp white pages… This successful endeavor manages to maintain the spirit of the original series while showing respect for new devotees.
Booklist
The series addresses bullying and empathy in an easy, accessible way, and the books are meant to be read aloud.
The New York Post
Young readers will enjoy this spectacular story that is perfect for reading aloud in the classroom, library, or at home. The adorable artwork is engaging with a touch of silliness that is sure to bring a smile to the reader's face... Children can gain the concept of teamwork, the virtue of courage, and the love of reading just by flipping through the pages of this exciting book.
Children's Book and Media Review
The Slithery Shakedown is a quirky, humorous book great for beginner readers, with fun illustrations. I love how the story takes three completely different types of animals—a pangolin, a sugar glider, and a red fox—and puts them together in a tight friendship. A friendship that even ahs them all standing up to a bully snake. A great bonus at the end of the books is the fun facts about nocturnal animals. This description of the animals helps you understand what they are and how interesting of a combo they are together.
Story Monsters, Olivia Amiri, age 11
This beginning reader does a good job of addressing the idea of being afraid and being brave…The illustrations have a charming folk art-like quality that may appeal to fans of animal picture books. Because the events all take place at night, the palette is an unusual teal-based one that is quite attractive.
YA Books Central
It’s a Great Way to Introduce a child to reading…This one will make you smile.
The Book Faerie
These books not only have entertainment value but teach young readers about friendship…I highly recommend them for growing readers.
Imaginary Reads
This is part of the Grow & Read series for children. There is limited text, lots of graphics and an easy to read storyline. I like it; it’s a great way to introduce a child to reading.
Journey of a Bookseller

Early Reader & Middle Grade Books

The Peculiar Possum

In The Peculiar Possum, the Nocturnal Brigade is back with Tobin the pangolin, Bismark the sugar glider, and Dawn the fox as they encounter a strange animal hanging by its tail from a tree. At first, the brigade thinks this animal is weird and to be avoided, but soon they realize just how similar they all are. Told with lots of humor, the story emphasizes how sometimes we're more alike than we appear. (early reader book)

Meet the Creative Team

Tracey Hecht - Author

Tracey is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

Josie Yee - Illustrator

Josie Yee is an award-winning illustrator and graphic artist specializing in children’s publishing. She received her BFA from Arizona State University and studied Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She lives in New York City with her daughter, Ana, and their cat, Dude.

Praise for The Peculiar Possum

[The Brigade] discovers different isn’t bad, it’s just an opportunity to discover something or someone new! A great book on acceptance, tolerance, and inclusion.
—Story Monsters
This is a delightful story. As with all of the Nocturnals books, this one teaches a lesson without appearing to do so. I have read all of the books in both the middle grade and ‘grow and read’ series and find them to be perfect for young readers and for readers of any age - adults included!
Pat Murphy, Ohio Eastern University
I love these books. They tell meaningful and diverse stories without the reader knowing it. […] I also love the illustrations. The animals’ expressions and gestures are so wonderful that they feel like your friends. This is a great addition to any library.
Trisha Perry, Oldham County Public Library
I LOVE this book and have requested that my library get all the titles in the series. The art is bright and eye-catching, the story is simple enough for young readers, and the extra content in the back is an added bonus. […] I also really appreciated the use of animals and plants not local to my area which gets the kids asking questions about other places with different animals and plants.
—Randi Kennedy, Quarryville Library
It's a sweet story that eventually teaches Bismark a lesson: You can't judge someone by their looks and being different is a good thing! My [children] loved this one, mostly because the peculiar possum had a comeback in one way or another when Bismark attacked. They know about being different, being bi-racial but never has their view been so softly and hilariously pressed that they saw nothing but the positive….The Peculiar Possum was the read of the summer.
Books! Books! Books!
This easy reader chapter book has short, easy sentences with occasional alliteration. The illustrations have a pleasing palette. Includes facts about the animals and a glossary.
Youth Services Book Review
I thought this book was rated correctly for the age group of 5-7. Most of the words were not too large, except for a few. I really liked the fact that the story was simple. Not a lot of words on each page to clutter the pages. Nice illustrations. Plus, the fun facts at the back of the book were great. They taught young readers about nocturnal animals and that being unique is a good thing.
Cheryl’s Book Nook
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