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The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht ⇉ A Creative Imagining of Animal Life

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
As a young reader, I loved books with animals. One reason is that I loved animals and would have loved to live a life surrounded by different species of animals. Another reason is that such books gave me the opportunity to explore different worlds. The Mysterious Abductions is reminiscent of some of my favorite childhood reads. I enjoyed my stay in this world.


WHAT I LIKED


Characters with Personality
The Mysterious Abductions is filled with characters with personality. Each character has a distinct personality that makes them memorable. Consequently, though many different characters are introduced, it's fairly easy to remember who is who based on their personality. (The downside is that we only get to know the characters on a superficial level.)

Creative Imagining of Animal Lives
Tracey Hecht provides a creative imagining of animal lives in The Mysterious Abductions. I enjoyed following the adventures of nocturnal animals and their interactions with each other in this novel.

Blurs the Lines Between Good and Evil
When the lines between good and evil are blurred, the author opens the way to look into different perspectives and examine the reasons for characters' actions. This provides children an opportunity to learning how to be empathetic and consider why someone might act or talk in a way that seems inappropriate to us.

Plot Twist
As the Brigade investigated the abductions, I found myself wondering why the animals were being abducted. The end result was something that I was not expecting at all. I would love to share more about this experience, but that would be a major spoiler. Read the book to find out!

Chapter Images (in Color!)
At the beginning of each chapter, there is a colored image of one or more of the characters. Since there were some animals that were unfamiliar to me, these images were helpful to my understanding of the novel. These pictures, and the story itself, can be used to jumpstart a look into the lives and nature of the animals' real-life counterparts.


WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE (AS MUCH)


Superficial Characters
While the characters all have distinct personalities, they stay stuck within their personalities; there isn't much depth to their characters. I understand that this is a book for younger readers and that, with three main characters, it can be difficult to balance out their roles.

Given that Tobin seems to be given a more focus, I still feel like more could have been done to develop his character and, subsequently, the other characters through him so that they could be given more depth.

Bismark's Over-the-Top Personality
Bismark was by far my least favorite character given his over-the-top personality and egoistic tendencies. I hesitate to say that all of this is because he's just Bismark and wish that he shows more development in future books.

I'm sure young readers will enjoy his antics, but as he is, I wouldn't use him as a role model for children. If I were reading this with a child, I would use his character as a jumping point for conversations on topics such as friendship, how we should treat others, and how we might act differently in relationships.

Where is the mystery?
The Brigade goes around asking questions and following the trail of abductions. However, we don't see as much brainstorming over possibilities or even a red herring. I've read children's books with more mystery to the mystery. Given the interesting nature of the disappearances (screams but little to no clues at the scene of the crime), I would have enjoyed seeing more detective work going on.

Thick Pages
This is a more personal comfort point: The book pages are much thicker than normal pages (and uneven at the ends). This caused discomfort as I would constantly question whether I had not turned two pages instead of one. I would have preferred thinner pages and possibly a larger book size so that it has more of a young readers' feel to it.


FINAL THOUGHTS


While The Mysterious Abductions does have its moments of humor, it also provides a learning opportunity for children through its themes of friendship and unity. The animals may be from different species and walks of life, but they are able to unite through a shared cause and desire to live in harmony.

One of the reasons I love children's books is that they tend to blur the lines of good and evil in a way that gives hope to the world (as compared to strictly adult books, which tend to portray the world in a hopeless light). While someone may seem like a bad guy right now, it doesn't mean that they were always bad or are beyond saving. The Mysterious Abductions does just that.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

★★★☆☆


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.



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If you went to battle against a dark and mysterious force, who would you include in your dream brigade? (May include real-life or fictional characters.)



Publication Info
  • The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht
  • Published by Fabled Films Press
  • On April 19, 2016
  • Genres: MysteryMiddle Grade
  • Pages: 232 Pages
  • Format: Hardback
Series: Nocturnals
  1. The Mysterious Abductions
  2. The Ominous Eye
  3. The Fallen Star
Content
  • Some violence

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel for review. All thoughts expressed are my personal honest opinions.

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