One of my neighbors recently put a video camera near his dock and recorded all the critters that wandered along the river at night. It turns out that skunks, possums, rats, cats, raccoons, and a coyote all passed by. I began thinking about the nighttime animal activity that goes on and how these animals interact with each other. If your children are are also curious hand them a copy of today’s book-
THE NOCTURNALS – THE CHESTNUT CHALLENGE
written by Tracey Hecht
Illustrated by: Josie Yee
Published by Fabled Films Press 2019
Early Chapter Book for ages 5-8
Themes/topics – Nocturnal Animals, Friendship, Sportsmanship
Setting – A Nighttime Forest
The Sky was dark.
The stars were sparkling.
Many animals were sleeping,
but three friends were wide awake.
The were playing a game of
What do a fox named Dawn, a pangolin named Tobin, and a sugar glider with an attitude named Bismark have in common? They are all nocturnal animals who become great friends and share night time adventures. In The Chestnut Challenge, the Nocturnals, as they call themselves, are enjoying their chestnut checkers game when they are interrupted by Chandler, a loud and pushy chinchilla.
Chandler challenges Tobin to a game. Tobin is not competitive, he just likes to play for fun. But he’s a good sport and agrees to play. Unfortunately, Chandler is not a good sport – he cheats! When Chandler is caught in the act, he lies. The Nocturnals are firm but kind. After Chandler admits his wrong-doing, they offer him a second chance as all good friends do.
The Chestnut Challenge presents a problem common to young children but not often addressed in books. Cheating hurts everyone and takes the fun out playing a game. It is important for children to see examples of both good and poor sportsmanship and the importance of forgiveness as they learn navigate through today’s competitive environments.
The Nocturnals books are written at different levels from early readers to middle grade novels, allowing children to continue to enjoy the adventures of these great characters as they become more proficient readers. Children will enjoy the bright and playful illustrations. Fun facts about nocturnal animals are included in the back as well as links to activities. This is a well written series featuring not only unusual animals but plots that are centered around friendship and difficult situations that children face and how they can be resolved.
Visit Nocturnals World for activities and more information about the series.
I loved animals as a kid, the more unusual the better. I would have loved these! As a coach and dad, I love the idea of a book that teaches these lessons – you’re right, good and bad examples are essential.