Saturday, April 23, 2016

Kid Konnection: The Mysterious Abductions

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a fun adventure book for middle grade readers.

Summary: "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.

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. -- Fabled Film Press

I do enjoy the occasional middle grade book, but I'm the first to admit that I don't usually pick up fantasy... or even books about animals for that matter. However, I thought the premise for the new book THE NOCTURNALS: THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS by Tracey Hecht and illustrated by Kate Liebman sounded cute. This is the first book in the new NOCTURNALS series and I definitely think the author has created a memorable cast of characters.

THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS tells the story of three animals who might not seem to be the most likely candidates for friendship. Dawn, the star of the story is a fox, while Tobin is a nice pangolin and Bismarck is a spunky sugar glider. Since they are all nocturnal animals (hence the title of the series!), their adventures take place in the middle of the night.

When a bunch of animals start mysteriously disappearing, the friends decide to form a Brigade to figure out what's happening. These three animals, all very different, offer their talents in discovering clues and getting to the bottom of the mystery. Additional animals, like a wombat and a pack of coyotes, chip in their skills too. What they discover leads to a crazy game that could lead forever change their lives. Can these newfound friends work together to save their lives?

THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS is a definitely a cute book that will appeal to middle grade readers... especially those interested in animals. It's action-packed and funny; and as a mom, I really appreciated the strong messages about loyalty and friendship.

One thing that really stood out to me was the development of the characters. Dawn is a terrific heroine -- she's smart and conscientious, but she's also just a great animal. I loved her determination to solve the mystery as well as her loyalty to her friends. Her sidekicks, the multilingual Bismarck and the sweet Tobin, provided a great deal of the humor in the story. I'm certain that these three are in store for some very fun adventures in the future!

Another interesting thing that I enjoyed about THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS was how creative the story was. I'm not a big fan of fantasy but I thought it was cute how the author used the animals' traits to further develop their characters. In addition, there is an insane game at the end of the book that is a bit like hockey... but not. It is extremely silly and incredibly unique!

Finally, I really appreciated that there are so many educational resources resources available for this book. There are book club questions, bookmarks, fill-in-the-story game, coloring pages, and more. I think THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS would be a great book to read not only in schools but also for book clubs.

Overall, THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS is an action-packed fun read that's perfect for middle grade fans of adventure series!

Meet 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.

Here are some facts the author learned while researching Dawn:

 **Red foxes are the largest member of the fox family. Even so, they are incredibly light on their feet thanks to their slender frame, enabling them to gracefully sneak around, and run up to 30-35 mph.
 (Macdonald, David W. "Dog Family." The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2009. 604-10. Print.)

 ** Foxes have incredible eyesight due to their cat-like, vertically slit pupils, which allows the animal to adapt to a wider range of light conditions.
 (Macdonald, David W. "Dog Family." The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2009. 604-10. Print.)

Here are some more resources for THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS that you might want to explore:

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!

Thanks to Saichek Publications for providing a review copy of this book.


bermudaonion said...

I generally don't pick up fantasy as an adult but I used to love books like this as a kid.

Stacie said...

I wondering if this would be good for those middle-grade kids who want to read Hunger Games, but are just not quite ready. This would be a good lead in to see if they like that genre. I'm going to mention it to my teacher friends.

Kate Unger said...

Sounds cute. Middle grade isn't my favorite to read for myself, but as my son gets older, I'll be needing more series to try. I'll add this one to my list.