Elementary: Great For All

The Mysterious Abductions

Tracey Hecht





Environment & Conservation


It’s animals on a mission. It’s a mystery to be solved.  But it 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 and Yiddish-speaking bats! Oy vey! Also, wombats, jerboas, and coyotes. Set in coastal waters, forests, and savannahs, Tracey Hecht introduces readers to a wide cast of animal characters and their native habitats. Mysterious Abductions is the opening book of a growing series, and it will have readers searching bookshelves, websites, and videos to learn more about the unique nocturnal animals they meet in this tale.

“We are animals de la noche, keepers of the night, a Nocturnal Brigade!”

Tobin the kind-hearted pangolin, Dawn the wise fox, and Bismark the self-aggrandizing sugar glider are the central characters. Once they realize that they are all nocturnal, they join together to solve the mystery of their disappearing family members and friends. As the brigade sets out, they form unlikely friendships and fragile alliances, all while learning to rely on – and forgive – each other.

Despite their best efforts, our fierce threesome is caught by the loathsome crocodile, Boris, who has been stealing the rest of the nocturnal animals. To win their freedom, the captives must prevail in a high-stakes hockey-style game against their toothsome captor. In the end, the game is played, Boris is redeemed, and our three Brigade-mates set out for the next adventure in Book 2 of the series.

Dawn gazed at the scene one last time. Then she turned to her two, loyal friends. “We are not alone,” she said. “Any of us.”

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 multi-lingual sugar glider will have readers laughing, repeating lines, and trying out their French accents. The short chapters and snappy pacing of The Mysterious Abductions will introduce students to unique animals and geography through a humorous mystery. It’s meshugginah!

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