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The Nocturnals #4

The Hidden Kingdom

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“Wacky illustrations and another plot that twists and turns” —Booklist
In the Nocturnals fourth chapter book, Dawn a serious fox, Tobin a sweet pangolin, and Bismark a pint-sized sugar glider travel to a distant watering hole during dry season. Along the way, strange things happen: the ground crumbles, water disappears, and huge tumbleweeds chase after them. Is the forest alive? When the animals start hearing voices, they begin to wonder: are they imagining things or is something, or someone, else responsible? Only the Nocturnals can solve this mystery and unite the forest!
Bonus full color illustrations at the start of each chapter.

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.

208 pages, Hardcover

First published February 6, 2018

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About the author

Tracey Hecht

20 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.

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5 stars
28 (56%)
4 stars
16 (32%)
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5 (10%)
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1 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Suzanne.
2,068 reviews24 followers
November 11, 2017
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. Now in their fourth adventure, they are up against a challenge that seems insurmountable. How can a few animals find a way to help all the creatures they know survive a drought? Bismarck's beloved pomelos are scrawny and withered, the watering holes are all drying up, and everyone feels weak and ill. The Brigade barely has the strength to investigate the odd things that are occurring in their valley. There are strange high-pitched noises, sometimes there are faint voices but no one is there, Cora (the wombat) has her den caved in by something. Weirdest of all, it seems the very sticks and plants have come alive to carry off what little water there is and keep the friends from finding it. How can that be possible?

The Nocturnals features a wide variety of nocturnal animals - foxes, sugar gliders, pangolins, wombats, chameleons, wallabies, bilbies, and bandicoots. Bismarck, the sugar glider, continues with his antics such as flirting with Dawn, bossing everyone else around when there is work involved, and bragging about his brave exploits (which are greatly exaggerated). Tobin gets blamed for any odd odors or squeaky noises due to the pangolin's habit of releasing gas when agitated or frightened. And Dawn is still the leader of the group with her wisdom and courage. Together they face everything from quicksand to tumbleweed attacks in their efforts to find water and save the valley's inhabitants.

Readers who enjoy animal adventures should try The Nocturnals, if they haven't already done so. The mixture of mystery, humor, and friendship is a wonderful combination. There is a website for readers and educators with plenty of resources at https://www.nocturnalsworld.com/.

I read an advanced reading copy provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for Debra Slonek.
305 reviews58 followers
May 7, 2018
Absolutely delightful! An engaging, fun story which was enhanced by the beautiful illustrations.

The nocturnal brigade consisted of a smart fox, an over-confident sugar glider and a compassionate, hard working pangolin. I enjoyed getting to know the Nocturnal Brigade. Each member brought different skills and abilities to their group. I loved the many examples of fierce and loyal teamwork. I was introduced to a kind, compassionate leader and also to a leader who was selfish, unkind and bent on destroying others.

As the band of traveling friends searched high and low for food and water, it seemed as though the forest was playing tricks on them. They heard, saw and experienced things that would simply vanish. As the secrets of the forest were revealed, we find out if magical things were actually happening or if lesser known wonders of nature were responsible.

I will be recommending this book to middle schoolers and their parents. This would be such a fun book to read out loud to a child. It could open up valuable conversations about friendship, loyalty, teamwork, kindness, selfishness and good and bad leaders.

This book is filled with excellent storytelling, very likable characters, rip-roaring funny moments and plenty of opportunities to stop and have meaningful conversations with your children. Reading this book will encourage you to look around you and notice all living creatures and things. Everyone deserves to be noticed.
Profile Image for Stacey Ashton.
50 reviews
January 18, 2018
I had a great time reading The Hidden Kingdom with my niece. We have read the whole series together and with each new book, we learn more about wacky animals and have fun researching them online. ( Pangolin anyone?) In this adventure, the animals in the valley start to hear strange voices, trip on the crumbling ground beneath them and their water disappears! The Nocturnal Brigade—Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark—assume the forest is under an evil spell. SPOILER ALERT: It's a group of veiled creatures—a chameleon, stick bugs, leaf bugs, and other assorted camouflaged insects—that are causing the problems because they want the valley’s recognition for their hard work in preventing a drought. Yep--another lesson learned with The Nocturnal Brigade! And one my niece and I can talk about without being too serious. Two thumbs up here!
Profile Image for BookzBookzBookz.
Author 16 books74 followers
March 13, 2018
Something's happening that's actually destroying lives. Leaves, trees, fruit and bodies are drying out. There's a drought! But when they go to the water holes, there's absolutely No Water!
At. All.

So the team sets out to save everyone. While out and about, the forest seems to come alive to work against them. Sticks that run away, leaves that move and more. What can be happening and how can they top the forest from attacking them? And will they ever find water to survive the drought?

The Hidden Kingdom was better than the previous books, because there was a greater, almost supernatural situation going on. It made the read bewitching, interesting. My only problem with the book is the darned Bismark! I can't stand his blending of languages, his constant harassment of Dawn and his most annoying activity! If he was removed, the story would be so much better. Then again, all stories need some sort of comic relief.

The Hidden Kingdom is a fun read and kids of all ages would love it, as long as they can tolerate Bismark! Off to the next read. Cheers!
*Read the full review at http://bit.ly/DontBeThirsty

The Nocturnals: The Hidden Kingdom
Tracey Hecht and Sarah Fieber
Published by Fabled Films Press, Feb. 2018
Profile Image for Stacie.
Author 12 books55 followers
February 14, 2018
The Hidden Kingdom: The Nocturnals, is the 4th book is a fun fantasy series for middle-grade readers. Starring Dawn the fox, Tobin the pangolin, and Bismark the sugar glider, it's a story that will have kids laughing along with their adventures.

The animals in the Hidden Kingdom are in trouble when water vanishes from the valley, and there may be evil spirits lurking in the forest. Dawn, Tobin and Bismark are friends in the Nocturnal Brigade, and they are on a quest to save the Kingdom. Told in short chapters with charming, pencil-drawn character illustrations - the adventure unfolds as they work together to solve the mystery.

Though this is the 4th in a series, this story can easily stand on its own. My children, ages 8 and 9, have not read the previous books, and were easily able to understand & enjoy The Nocturnals. The short chapters made for a good read-aloud for us together, and they both still like seeing illustrations even in chapter books. As a parent, I liked the emphasis in the story on friend's working together, and loved the addition of the pangolin and sugar-glider - two unique animals that I don't remember ever reading a fictional story about (and the kids loved them too).

We were pleased to receive an ARC via a Goodreads Giveaway, and happy to leave a review. My kids have already asked about other books in the series, so I'll be seeking them out to add to our home library!
Profile Image for Lydia Wallace.
343 reviews33 followers
February 20, 2019
A great book. The characters are delightful. Appealing page turner for middle school readers. Fresh and fun. Highly recommend.
March 26, 2018
After reading the first three novels in the series, my children could not wait to see what The Hidden Kingdom had in store. We read the novel out loud as a family, everyone participated, and it was easy to do so- the animals in this novel are so lively! What I liked most about this book was that it went beyond the easy 'teamwork and friendship' narrative that most middle grade novels default to. Although the Brigade surely demonstrated the difficulties and benefits of both teamwork and friendship, Hecht addresses tougher issues. SPOILER- the villains in this novel are bad because they feel excluded. Getting to the root of bullying and deciphering how to handle those who bully can be difficult to talk about with your kids. Yet, Hecht supplies a narrative that is tailored to your child's imagination and crafts an understanding of these topics. It has started an important dialogue between my kids and me about the harder parts of growing up. All around, this series is a win for the family and we can't wait to see what's next.
Profile Image for Nicole Wheeler.
4 reviews7 followers
January 23, 2018
The Nocturnal Brigade is back in this installment of the captivating series about an intelligent fox, an anxious pangolin, and a spunky sugar glider! In this book, Dawn, Bismark, and Tobin take on King Cami, a chameleon who’s stealing all the water in the forest with the help of some camouflaged creatures. The three friends will have to come together to stop King Cami and help their friend Cora before it’s too late! A great new book with beautiful illustrations, a clever twist, and lots of funny moments! Would definitely recommend.
2 reviews
January 23, 2018
The Hidden Kingdom is the fourth book in The Nocturnals’ series. I got it for my nephew because he loves animals (and especially lizards) without realizing it was a series, but he didn’t have any trouble understanding what was going on. The book is very cute, with funny characters, an interesting plot, and lots of lessons about teamwork. He liked all the different animals in the books, and I enjoyed learning about them, too. I had no idea what a pangolin was! We’ll definitely be returning for the other books.
Profile Image for Teri Parks.
95 reviews1 follower
April 9, 2019
This book series entails so many wonderful characteristics, it should be required reading for all Young Readers!

The characters are animals that are not normally thought of: a pangolin, a sugar glider, and a wombat. So naturally if is fun to explore these new animals. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One of the characters seems to be tri-lingual, and I found that a little disturbing. While the character does speak popular French and Spanish phrases, I think it would have been a better read if it stayed with just one foreign language. (This is the first noon I have read in the older reader level, so perhaps this is addressed in an earlier book.). But I will say, it added a humor characteristic to him that was fun to read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

There were several challenging words of advanced vocabulary that I felt a Young Reader might need assistance with. Keep that dictionary (Google) handy to help look up the definitions. Definitely a teachable moment, but distracting from the story-line. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

There were numerous life lessons to be learned:
- team work
- leadership
- caring and friendship
- acceptance/differences
- working through a problem
- environmental issue awareness
- understanding nature
- making a difference in world problems
- inclusion

But what really sets this series apart are two things:
- a website geared with additional activities to make this a true learning experience
- a series for Beginning Readers so they can be included in the same storyline as an older sibling!

Overall, an extremely high ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating!
Profile Image for Jennifer Lee.
7 reviews
March 26, 2018
My children love animals and this is just the series that allows them to learn about new ones! This time the Brigade faces an unseen foe that is draining the forest's water and causing panic. As we learn more about pangolins, sugar gliders, and red foxes- the main trio of the Nocturnal Brigade; we also unveil the creatures often forgotten. The use of unique animals is what originally drew us into the series, but we've stayed because the plots are so much fun. For Spring Break, the publishing company - I think it's Fabled Films(?) - put out a packet of materials that worked alongside the series. We used word games, made songs, created masks of my children's favorite characters, and even completed a science project. I cannot recommend this series enough. My children view reading differently than they used to - they find it fun. They are finally able to truly visualize, understand, and empathize with the characters- probably in part because of the engaging activities surrounding the novel. Overall, each book in The Nocturnals series has held its own and The Hidden Kingdom is no different. Start this series, or just begin from here, I am sure your kids will love it.
Profile Image for Pat.
165 reviews
February 28, 2021
The Nocturnal Brigade is at it again. Dawn, Bismarck and Tobin search for a new source of water. When they get to a distance waterhole, strange things are happening - the ground moves, the bark on trees moves, and tumbleweed attack. What is happening with their beloved forest. The Brigade sets out to find water and to solve the mystery of the forest's troubles.

This is always an interesting series to read. The Brigade has marvelous adventures that both teach and entertain. I received this as a review copy but if I had children this is a series I would buy. I have enjoyed reading others in the series.
Profile Image for LeeAnn.
1,124 reviews2 followers
April 25, 2018
What a fabulous book! Reminiscent of Watership Down and Wind in the Willows. Fun, creative characters; intriguing plots; action that flows like a movie; gorgeous and unique artwork. Even reading Book 4 without having read the other 3 (I received the book in the mail), I wasn't lost or confused! Totally engrossing! I know my upper elementary students will love this story. Can't wait to share it with them. If you haven't been to nocturnalsworld.com - go now! :)
1,134 reviews14 followers
July 29, 2018
Bismark the sugar glider, Tobin the pangolin, and Dawn the fox return in this fourth Nocturnal Bridgade adventure. This time they must work together to solve a water problem created by the Hidden Kingdom. Middle grade school reader will learn how the team works together to solve problems
I received this book through a publisher giveaway. Although encouraged, I was under no obligation to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
January 24, 2019
The Hidden Kingdom is an entertaining mid-grade book. The animals in it all have distinct personalities and even speak some words in different languages. This chapter book is accompanied by very unique artwork which adds a lot to the story. It is a cute book with lots of adventure.
Profile Image for Engel Dreizehn.
1,588 reviews
September 1, 2018
Good animal story series so far featuring exotic animals not normally depicted in children's fiction or let alone well known in general, for example, the pangolin.
Profile Image for Deni.
166 reviews
April 20, 2019
Very unique, I like that it's different makes it stand out!
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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