Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Nocturnals #2

The Ominous Eye

Rate this book

“Returning fans will be rewarded” —Booklist
In the Nocturnals second chapter book, Dawn a serious fox, Tobin a sweet pangolin, and Bismark a pint-sized sugar glider set out to investigate a sudden jolt that cracks the earth! Along the way, they meet a mysterious reptile, a tuatara, who claims the beast who caused the crack may strike again. But can this tuatara be trusted? The Nocturnals team up with a zany owl, jittery jerboas, and a flock of birds to set a trap to uncover the truth and unite the forest!
Bonus full color illustrations at the start of each chapter.

Now an AR Quiz

Download complimentary printable activities at nocturnalsworld.com: animal mask crafts, bingo, word games, discussion questions, and Common Core Language Arts and Next Generation Science educator guides.

The Nocturnals is a critically acclaimed middle grade chapter book series following three unlikely friends—Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, and Bismark, a pint-sized sugar glider. Discover the friendships, teamwork, and humor as the Nocturnal Brigade solves the unpredictable mysteries of the night.

In the third chapter book, The Fallen Star, Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark wake up to a disaster! A meteor has landed in the forest, blue lights glow near the crater, and animals are strangely affected. They meet Iris the aye-aye, a mysterious primate, who warns of a moon monster invasion. But can she be trusted? It is up to the Nocturnals to uncover the real explanation and save the animals!

208 pages, Paperback

First published September 20, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Tracey Hecht

21 books168 followers

Tracey Hecht is a writer and entrepreneur who created The Nocturnals, the critically acclaimed middle grade and early reader series. The American Booksellers Association chose her first book, The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions, as a Kids’ Indie Next List pick. In addition, her Grow & Read early reader book, The Chestnut Challenge, was given a Mom’s Choice Gold Award. With the New York Public Library, she has also created a Read Aloud Writing Program that has since been conducted in over 150 schools, libraries, and bookstores. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine, with her husband and four children.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
28 (28%)
4 stars
50 (50%)
3 stars
17 (17%)
2 stars
4 (4%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Druffel.
100 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2016
Three very different animals, Dawn (a fox), Tobin (a pangolin), and Bismark (a sugar glider) make up the Nocturnal Brigade. Their job is to protect the land and the creatures who inhabit it. When an earthquake shakes the land creating destruction and ash, the Nocturnal Brigade investigates. Along the way, the brigade meets a strange creature, a tuatara named Polyphema. She blames the recent events on a giant beast. With her warnings and insight, the Nocturnal Brigade set out to trap the beast with the help of others. But, can they trust Polyphema?

I loved the language used in this epic story. The author uses humor to keep the reader engaged while the reader is wondering what is really going on. Is Polyphema trying to trick the Nocturnal Brigade? What are her intentions? The story is fast-paced, fun, and adventurous. This would be a great read aloud in the elementary classroom. I can already imagine what voices I would use for each character. Fun, fun, fun!
Profile Image for Nicole M. Hewitt.
1,420 reviews283 followers
September 20, 2016
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Just like the first book, this one introduces kids to new animals (A tuatara? What the heck is that?) and scientific concepts in a really fun and engaging way.

I actually enjoyed the story in this book even more than I did in the first. Once again, our trio of unlikely heroes is trying to solve a mystery: in this case, they’re trying to discover what beast is threatening their home and why. There are some hints of the supernatural in this book (that turn out to be not so supernatural)—an element that many young fantasy readers will enjoy. I did figure out parts of the mystery in this one relatively early on, but that was okay (younger readers probably wouldn’t pick up on them so easily). And there were still plenty of interesting surprises. I also felt like Bismark was toned down just a little bit in this second book (or maybe I simply got used to him?), so I appreciated that. I’m still loving this series and I look forward to the next one! 4/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Kim.
506 reviews31 followers
March 26, 2017
This is exactly the sort of book I'd give young readers who are ready to read at an advanced level but aren't ready for the themes, plots, or humor available in those advanced-level books. The Ominous Eye introduces science, vocabulary, and sentence structure that older readers might encounter with a focus on friendship, problem-solving, and a mystery that any younger reader might enjoy.

Reading as an adult, I found the characters distinct but a little repetitive and the story more static than I prefer. As always, my rating is based in my own experience of the book, but I wouldn't hesitate a moment to recommend this to a young reader.
Profile Image for Brenda.
1,516 reviews66 followers
November 18, 2016
I enjoy this so much simply because it's different than your typical children's novel with animals. A pangolin and a sugar glider! A tuatara! A kiwi! How cool are those!?

The sugar glider was a tad annoying at times, but ultimately it's a cute book with some good lessons about how to properly tackle a problem situation. Specifically, how to not let fear and hate drive your decision making--this resonates with me even more now in the wake of recent current events. Plus, you just can't go wrong with a book about friendship. Kid books are full of that message and it never gets old.
1,108 reviews12 followers
January 14, 2017
This book is the second in a series for junior high age kids. It involves an unlikely combination of animals - a fox, a sugar glider and a pangolin who go on adventures. They meet other unique animals along the way. A crack opens in the earth and a beast that seems bent on destroying vast amounts of the animal population is released and the gang must stop it. Each character in the book is well developed and interesting. The sugar glider is really funny. I think this will be a hit with kids.
Profile Image for Valerie.
902 reviews5 followers
August 15, 2016
This is the story of three friends : Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark. In this book, they have to figure out what has caused the destruction of the earth, but soon they meet Polyphema who tells them about the beast. The story is witty and cute. The animals reach out to others and get their support to help them get the beast. This book is written at the middle grade level and I appreciate that.
17 reviews
December 23, 2021
I chose this book because I read the first one in the series and I wanted to continue reading.
The characters in the story are Bismark the sugar glider, Dawn the fox, Tobin the pangolin, and Polyphema the tuatara. The brigade, (the group of three animals that help other animals) is Dawn, Bismark, and Tobin. Bismark tries to get everyone to think he is the best. Dawn is brave and confident and she is basically the leader of the brigade. Tobin is sweet and shy. Polyphema, who is not a part of the brigade, is very tricky and she is rude and demanding and good at hiding secrets.
The plot of the story starts by the earth shaking and moments after the shaking stops, the brigade finds a strange animal (Polyphema) and they think she did the shaking but then polyphema explained that there was a beast and that everyone in the village had to leave. They believed that there was a beast but they weren't going to leave so they built a trap and polyphema helped them but she trapped the birds under the net when the earth was shaking again so Dawn had to get the birds out. Polyphema ran away but Dawn caught her climbing a tower and she was talking to someone but nobody was in the tower. The shaking happened again and they thought for sure that it was Polyphema so they went to the tower and she told them to go away and she hurt an owl and was threatening everyone to leave. The brigade thought she was hiding something in the tower so Bismark climbed into the tower but he didn't see anything and he was about to leave the tower until he heard cracking and he found three eggs. The eggs were what Polyphema was hiding and she trapped the birds because birds eat eggs. The shaking of the ground was a volcano and she told them that it was a beast so they wouldn't harm her babies and they were the last of their kind so Polyphema was very protective because she doesn't want their species to go extinct. One of the solutions to the plot is that the brigade will take care of Polyphema's babies because she was getting really old. I rate this book 5/5 stars because it made me want to keep reading and it had a unique plot. I recommend this book to everyone but especially people that love animals.
Profile Image for Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland.
986 reviews195 followers
June 17, 2017
Friendship Focus
The focus of the Nocturnals has always been on the strong friendship that Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark share. I like how their friendship is put to the test in this novel because it shows young readers that good friends can fight and doubt each other, but they will continue to care for each other and put in the effort to make up.

Blurs the Line Between Good and Evil
Like the first book, The Ominous Eye blurs the line between good and evil. Oftentimes, we look at someone's actions and judge their character based off a specific behavior at a specific point in the time, but we don't stop to question the motive behind their behavior. The Ominous Eye calls us to consider the other side's perspective.

Caricature of the Real World
The actions of the nocturnals in this novel reflect the actions of real-world people when bad things happen and no one knows what to do. This book provide a safe place for children to consider how they would act (or who in the novel they want to act like) should something similar take place in their lives.


Superficial Characters
As in the first novel, the characters stay nicely packaged in their respective personas. While events cause tension within the heroes' relationships with one another, even the quarrel isn't very persuasive and lacks depth.

The Characters' Attitudes and Actions
On top of what I didn't like from the last novel, I really didn't like Dawn and Bismark's attitudes in this novel. The new major player in this novel was also pretty big "know it all." Young readers may find their attitudes and actions interesting, but as an older reader, I wanted to see more to the characters' personalities.


Overall, I appreciate how the Nocturnals books introduce young readers to new creatures and teaches them about friendship, hope, and perseverance through hardships. In exploring real-world concepts through animals lives, the book gives young readers the opportunity to consider the right thing to do when faced with a moral dilemma.

For more of my reviews, visit Imaginary Reads
Profile Image for Teresa Bateman.
Author 34 books52 followers
September 2, 2017
The Nocturnals--a fox, a sugar glider, and a pangolin--are back in their second adventure. What is going on in their home? The earth is shaking. Has a beast arrived to eat them all? A tuatara claims prophetic powers and is soon directing all the local animals in a plan, but Dawn, the fox, is suspicious. What is really going on? Her careful reasoning bounces up against the sugar glider's ego-driven Spanish/French exclamations and declarations of love. That's not going to solve the problem. Will an erratic owl make the difference? This is a light-hearted romp of seriousness that has both adventure and humor. Ultimately, however, it is character-driven, and the characters are truly fun.
Profile Image for Jeannie.
597 reviews2 followers
June 11, 2017
Three animals have formed a Nocturnal Brigade to protect their home and friends. Dawn, the fox, is serious and a natural leader. Tobin, the pangolin, offers sweet support. Bismark, a sugar glider, is boistrous and sometimes a bit over bearing. Their world is suddenly shaken by a tuatara lizard who claims that a best is coming to destroy all that is.
The characters are unusual, but the story is very predictable. Bismark's comments become annoying but perhaps students will find him funny.
Profile Image for Hannah.
6 reviews
May 23, 2017
A very clever story, good description words. Great book!
Profile Image for Lora.
280 reviews
April 4, 2023
The second book of the great Nocturnals series! While not quite as good as #1 in my opinion, it was still a fun story and my boys loved having me read it out loud to them.
February 19, 2017
Read full review HERE

Note to Reader: This is one of Ms. Leger's favorite Middle Grade series. She seriously doubts you will find any middle school science or ELA teacher that wouldn't instantly fall in-love with The Brigade. It is adventurous and not even the teacher can predict what rare animal they will meet. These books have made a "tour" through our middle school and have had raving reviews, we haven't had one disappointed reader yet!

Reviewed by Ms. Leger:
The Brigade is back and ready to solve yet another mystery! The Ominous Eye (The Nocturnals #2) is a must read for any middle schooler who loves animals and needs a great mystery. Hecht is a master at creating suspense and has the ability to keep the reader engaged from beginning to end. As a teacher, I am always looking for material to bring into the classroom and I can always count on the latest Nocturnals to introduce a rare and really forgotten animal.
We meet an endangered species known as the Tuatara. I was not familiar with this descendant of the dinosaur, so of course I had to stop and do some research. It was not easy to find! I had to follow bread crumbs just to find information on this rare animal. I actually discovered a board on Pinterest that lead to a fun little article (link below). I don't know what Hecht's formula is for finding and creating such tall tales with such unique animals but it is supurb.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
2,093 reviews25 followers
July 30, 2016
In their first appearance (The Mysterious Abductions), three very different animals - Tobin the pangolin, Bismarck the sugar glider, and Dawn the fox- work together to save themselves from a hungry snake on the very first night they meet. That success leads to the formation of the Nocturnal Brigade, with the three new friends ready to help others. Although the brigade solved the abductions, there are still plenty of dangers for them to face. In their latest book, they try to find out what is causing the ground to shake, giant cracks to form, and ash to fall from the sky. (Any guesses?) They meet a lizard named Polyphema who claims that there is a great beast who is shaking the ground and that he wants all the animals to leave the area. Polyphema is a tuatara, a type of lizard with a third eye (seen while they are young hatchlings, then eventually covered with scales). She claims that she can see the future with this special eye and that if the animals do not leave their homes, there will be terrible consequences. Should the brigade trust her and talk the animals into leaving? Or is there something more going on, as Dawn suspects?

The Nocturnals features a wide variety of nocturnal animals - foxes,sugar gliders, bats, pangolins, owls, tuatura, jerboas, and kiwis. It also features some wonderful vocabulary, especially from Bismarck (the sugar glider). He wants so much to impress everyone, even though he is such a small creature, that he uses very large words such as stupefying, precarious, and tardiness. Along with the extra-large words, he also sprinkles words and phrases from other languages into the conversation like absolument, ma cherie, amigos, and mio amore. Tobin is impressed by him, but Dawn sees through the theatrics and just gives him a look or a sigh to show that she isn't falling for his charm. The relationship between the three friends and the other animals has many humorous moments, even while they try to find a way to protect everyone from "the beast."

Readers who enjoy animal adventures such as The Guardians of Ga'Hoole may have a new series to add to their bookshelves. The Ominous Eye is the second book in the series and The Mysterious Abductions was the first featuring the Nocturnal Brigade. It is fun to see the relationships between the friends continue to develop. Bismarck teases Tobin about releasing his defensive scent every time he is scared, Dawn continues to roll her eyes at Bismarck's outrageous flirting, and Tobin wants everyone to get along. There is a website for readers and educators with plenty of resources at https://www.nocturnalsworld.com/.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for Jacinta Carter.
862 reviews23 followers
September 21, 2016
Talking animal stories have never really been my thing, but I truly enjoyed reading about the unique trio of creatures in The Nocturnals series. Dawn, the intuitive fox; Bismark, the mouthy, multi-lingual sugar glider; and Tobin, the timid pangolin make up quite a team. In this novel (the second in a non-episodic series), they head out to figure out what kind of beast is terrorizing their forest and join with several other quirky animals in their determination to restore peace to their home. If you have kids in upper elementary school who are fans of animal stories or mysteries, grab a copy of The Nocturnals for them.
Profile Image for Jaclyn Eccesso.
92 reviews9 followers
August 28, 2016
The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye is the second in Tracey Hecht’s The Nocturnals middle grade series illustrated by Kate Liebman. The book follows three nocturnal friends: Dawn the fox, Bismark the sugar glider, and Tobin the pangolin, as they attempt to save their forest home from a threatening, yet seen beast.

Dawn, Bismark, and Tobin have formed a team called The Night Brigade, which is devoted to protecting the animals of the night from any terrors that might arise. So when a great earthquake of sorts is felt, and the forest animals feels threatened, the friends embark on a quest to solve the mystery of the mysterious quake and its source. Along the way they meet a new friend Polyphema, a tuatara who seems to know a bit about the beast, not to mention she has a third eye with which she claims she can see the future, past, and present. As they go, the friends incur the help of other animals in the forest in an attempt to trap the beast and end its horrors once and for all, but the mysteries keep mounting.

Not necessarily contiguous with the first book, The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions, Hecht writes a novel that can stand on its own and allows readers to jump right into the series and backtrack later. The characters are each unique, loveable and sometimes annoying in a way that the reader can’t help but be invested in them. Even the so called “bad guys” have an element of sympathy and understanding about them that teaches young readers to think critically about how they treat the people around them and what might be going on in those “bad guys” lives. Ideas of disability and difference also arise in the novel in a way that teaches acceptance. The Night Brigade accepts everyone for who they are, the Brigade is compassionate, forgiving, and brave, but they can also be scared too. Hecht does a great job of tying together themes and morals centering around acceptance, understanding, and friendship.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.
Profile Image for BookzBookzBookz.
Author 16 books75 followers
November 16, 2016
*Perfect book for homeschool reading!
The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye, by Tracey Hecht, is a fun, adventurous and very annoying tale. It tells the story of a sugar glider, a fox and pangolin, leaders of The Brigade and defenders of those in need. When something enters their homeland, a threatening beast, it's up to The Brigade to find out what 'it' is...
My son and I read this book together. We hadn't heard of The Nocturnals before, so we didn't know of book 1, but it didn't stop us from enjoying the story. The Brigade has (Dawn) who is more like the leader of the trio and the forest, (Tobin) who was empathy and concern, and then the very emotional and ever annoying Bismarck- a sugar glider! OMGoodness was he a mess!

We enjoyed the story because it was simple, yet mysterious. The story showed how teamwork gets things done and jealousy can damage friendships. Lastly, it told you that if you ever meet a talking sugar glider, kick it into the next century! Bismarck talked way too much and couldn't decide if he wanted to be French or Italian! He was also very conceited, adds my son, but it all added to the fun of the tale!

All in all, the story was a great, but predictable adventure that can be enjoyed be readers of all ages! Check out The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye while I move on to the next read. Cheers!

For the full review: http://bit.ly/TheNocturnalsNovel

Rating: 5 out of 5 specs
*The Doldrums is next.
**Novel won through a Shelf Awareness giveaway.
Profile Image for Trisha.
857 reviews11 followers
March 5, 2017
Our trio of friends, Dawn the fox, Bismark the sugar glider, and Tobin the Pangolin are off to investigate another mystery. This time it was a huge jolt and a ton of ash falling all over their forest home. Soon they meet a unfamiliar reptile that says she can help but can she be trusted?

This is such a cute book for middle grade readers on up or for little one to be read too. With all the different animals and a mystery that will hold the reader captive until the end when all is finally revealed. The illustrator, Kate Leibman, with her warm water color pictures add a awesome touch throughout the book.

There is also a multimedia site setup for the books at www.nocturnalsworld.com for children to interact and learn more about the nocturnal brigade and their nighttime world.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
158 reviews22 followers
February 25, 2017
This was just okay for me. Maybe I would have liked it better if I had read the first book in the series? Normally I'm sure to do that, but I received an arc of this book at ALA.

The characters were fun and the story was entertaining. It was also educational, introducing animals and vocabulary that kids normally wouldn't be exposed to. Heck, I needed to look up what a tuatara is myself, as I had literally no idea such an animal exists. However, there are a lot of little things that just don't add up plot wise.
191 reviews3 followers
August 13, 2016
A fox, a sugar glider, and a pangolin are "The Brigade"--a group of friends pledged to stick together through thick and thin in order to protect and defend the animals of the valley in which they live. Younger readers will be enthralled by the story of friendship, bravery, and determination when the gang is called into action at the sign and mention of a great beast who's movements shake the earth and spread ash on everything. Older readers will be challenged to make inferences and piece the puzzle together as the three friends sniff out and unearth clues about the true identity of the mysterious beast terrifying the animals all around them.
1,136 reviews14 followers
August 21, 2016
Bismark, the sugar glider is in love with Dawn, a fox that is the leader of their nighttime brigade of animals, which include Tobin, the anteater. A strange and dangerous threat arrear in the night spewing ashes and creating fissure filled with stream. Things get complicated when the not so helpful reptile, Polyphema, comes to their rescue. This adventure explores relationships, trust, and reliance on communal affiliations. Although dashes and ellipsis are overused, the level is appropriate for middle school students.
1,003 reviews
November 1, 2016
I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you!
This was a fun, talking animal story suitable for upper elementary and middle school readers. It's unusual to find a book with pangolin and tuatara characters. Most people don't know what they are. There was a good mystery to solve and plenty of suspense. I felt like I could have used a little map to figure out where the animals went in the book. I haven't read the first book. The Ominous a Eye seemed to work well as a stand alone story.
Profile Image for Camille Caliman.
Author 10 books8 followers
November 9, 2016
This was a wonderful sequel. I really didn't even suspect the ending and the character's stayed true to their personalities. I like how Dawn and Bismark's relationship was put to the test and how it showed that Dawn does actually care for him.

I personally loved how in this book Dawn's softer, caring side was shown. Not too much to where it didn't seem like her, but just enough to where it showed that she's not a I-know-everything leader all the time.

Long story short, I can't wait for the next one. March is just too far away for my liking.
Profile Image for Pat.
165 reviews
November 29, 2016
I received this as a review copy. It just happened to be a day when I was looking for something light to read when this arrived. I immediately started reading when finished it the next day. The story of three friends, a fox, a pangolin and a sugar glider. A jolt fractures the earth and the team set out to investigate the cause, getting into all types of trouble along the way. Great read. I had never heard of a pangolin but imagine my surprise when that evening it was mentioned on a tv show
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.