Praise for The Nocturnals Grow & Read Series
"[The Brigade] discover 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
“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… Beginning readers will enjoy this tale and will cheer on the threesome who defeat a bully by using their words.” —School Library Journal
“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...Hecht and Dowling successfully set the stage for more adventurous outings down the road.” —Publishers Weekly
“[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.” —New York Post
"The mystery is quickly solved when a possum falls from the tree where she was hiding. 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
“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
Three animal friends try to figure out why a sugar glider's favorite food is missing and encounter a new neighbor in their community.
The three anthropomorphic, nocturnal animals, Tobin (a pangolin), Bismark (a sugar glider), and Dawn (a fox), are puzzled when Bismark finds only one pomelo in the tree. They hear strange sounds and smell unfamiliar scents, both of which cause them to conclude they "have a prowler in [their] presence." This turns out to be a possum, who plays dead when she is frightened by the others. Bismark, already annoyed that she's taken at least one pomelo, thinks her behavior is "peculiar," and he tells her so when she comes to. Alliteration with the letter p dominates several of the ensuing passages as Penny the possum defends herself against Bismark's insults (Penny's "not pleasant" but "peculiar"; "Penny prowls and she pillages"). The other animals take her side, and eventually Bismark apologizes. The writing is both stilted and likely too sophisticated for many new readers, and it commits the cardinal grammatical sin of using "lay" instead of "lie"—arguably a fatal flaw in an early reader. The art, which is largely redundant of text, provides cues to help readers with decoding, but its uninspired setting and bland, animation-inspired characterization do little to enhance the feeble storytelling.
Not exactly peculiar but far from compelling. (Early reader. 6-8)