There’s something so enticing about fetching a favorite book during the Fall season, sitting by the fire, getting lost in a whimsical story. Okay, so maybe for Phoenicians, we’re not yet primed for a crackling fire, but by golly, it’s still a wonderful time for kids of all ages to kick back with a great book. Lucky for you, I can offer not one, but three recommendations for elementary to middle school readers: The Nocturnals!

As a parent and children’s book author, I appreciate any instance in which a writer, publisher and/or promoter have the ingenuity to offer even more than simply a solidly, wonderful story (which all three books have). The Nocturnals author, Tracey Hecht, takes young readers on a series of adventures with central, quirky protagonists – Bismark, a saucy, lovestruck sugar glider; Dawn the sensible fox leader (and object of Bismark’s affection); and Tobin, a well-meaning albeit befuddled pangolin. Together, these three encounter obstacles, scenarios, and experiences that are topical and relevant to the current climate of elementary/middle school – bullying, acceptance of character defects and the like. And, while I love the subtle application of problem-solving for today’s issues affecting school-aged children, I appreciate more, the fact that Hecht is able to craft these scenarios in a natural, genuine way – without little readers or their parents feeling like we’re being force-fed an agenda. The stories are simply delightful. 

Now, back to the value added I first mentioned. Fabled Films Press, the entertainment company flagship of Hecht’s woodland tales, offers children a number of activities to support The Nocturnal series. For example, parents can access a number of free printables and other activity kits that coincide with the books and characters. There’s even a “how-to” face-painting kit – a perfect autumn-focussed project for Fall festivals, birthdays and playdates. 

Without any prompting, my three daughters (8, 8 and 10) quickly became obsessed with The Nocturnals. I know this because every week there is at least one or more “Brigade” meeting that takes place with a number of plushies (naturally with a fox leader). The only thing that would make this series better is more titles (hint, hint Ms. Hecht) and maybe the addition of a sugar glider and pangolin plushie!

The Nocturnals series include: “The Mysterious Abductions,” “The Ominous Eye,” and “The Fallen Star”