The Mysterious Abductions

by Tracey Hecht (2017)

A Sweet Spot selection. 

It’s animals on a mission. It’s a mystery to be solved. Sound familiar?

But wait…this is no ordinary story about animals banding together to solve a problem. For starters, there are no ordinary house pets or farm animals to be found. Instead, we get pangolins and sugar gliders. Intrigued? How about Yiddish-speaking bats! Oy vey! And set in coastal waters, forests, and savannahs! Svor!

Author Tracey Hecht spins a tale of teamwork and mystery in The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions, the first in a series of books that will have readers searching bookshelves, websites, and videos to learn more about the unique nocturnal animals that band together.

In addition to the founding members of the Nocturnal Brigade (a wise fox, self-aggrandizing sugar glider, and kind-hearted pangolin), Hecht introduces readers to wombats, jerboas, and coyotes, all in their common habitats.

As the brigade sets out to discover why their friends and family members are being kidnapped in the night, they form unlikely friendships, all while learning to rely on – and forgive – each other. When their families are taken away, they learn to form new ones, providing readers an opportunity to talk about what makes a family.

Although fraught with kidnapping and screams in the night, this story won’t frighten anyone away. The witty dialogue, off-kilter bats, and attempts at romance from the sugar glider (who switches from English to French to Spanish) will have readers laughing, repeating lines, and trying out their French accents. And to top it all off, a make-shift hockey game breaks out!

For those new to the One School, One Book experience, the short chapters and welcoming format provide an opportunity to introduce students to unique animals and geography through a humorous mystery. It’s messuggina!