The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye by Tracey Hecht, illustrated by Kate Liebman

61h34pnnqvl    The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye by Tracey Hecht, illustrated by Kate Liebman, Fabled Films Press, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944020-03-3

Format:  paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 4

Genre: animal fantasy

What did you like about the book? The animal characters are unique it was fun to learn a bit about them while also getting to know their disparate personalities.  Dawn, the fox, exudes wisdom and calm, and tends to keep the warm-hearted but rather goofy sugar glider Bismark in line. Tobin, the pangolin, is timid but sweet. In this, the trio’s second adventure, they meet Polyphema, a tuatara, who is quietly menacing from the moment she arrives, sporting a third eye on top of her head and a message of doom for the forest animals. The friends embark on a quest to save their forest home which leads to some harrowing moments but ultimately a satisfying conclusion. The language is descriptive and there is a lot of action to keep readers turning pages.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The predominantly black cover is indeed ominous, and is obviously related to the nocturnal animals of the series title, but it still may not be attractive to young readers.

To whom would you recommend this book? Read Alikes?  Recommend to readers looking for something out of the ordinary. Readers who enjoyed the group of animals working together to solve a problem may enjoy the more light-hearted Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant. Readers who appreciate environmental themes may like Hoot, Flush and the other middle-grade novels of Carl Hiaasen.

Who should buy this book? Middle schools and public libraries may want to consider purchasing this book.

Where would you shelve it ?  Middle-grade fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.  

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: December 21, 2016

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