Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (9780763691615, Amazon)
An owl family is contentedly sleeping on a sunny day on a branch high in a tree. Then a family of bats arrives to hang below them on the same branch. The owls are awakened and slide down to another part of the branch, the parent owl clearly upset. Meanwhile, one of the owlets and one of the baby bats start to make friends and the little owl hangs upside down with the bat family. Both parents disapprove and everyone settles back into their own families, until they are disturbed by a strong wind blowing in. Soon baby owls and bats are being flung off the branch and the adult bat and owl are panicking as they search for their children. This might just be what the families need to get along!
This wordless picture book is nicely done with clear facial expressions on the animals that help the story be easily related to. The connection between the youngest of the animals is also very helpful, showing how bridges can be built by the youngest in the world. While this book is simple, it speaks to the importance of integration, diversity and wider community.
Turn the book upside down for a bit of a bat perspective on the world! Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
Nightsong by Ari Berk, illustrated by Loren Long
Chiro is a very young bat whose mother tells him that it is time for him to head out on a solo flight for the first time. Chiro is very worried about how he will see in the dark, but his mother encourages him to “Sing, and the world will answer.” So Chiro heads out on his own. At first, he tries to fly without singing, but it is too dark. Then when he sings, he suddenly sees in color. Chiro explores and sees all sorts of things through his song. When he gets to the pond and all of its insects, their songs sound like breakfast to him. His mother had warned him not to go too far unless his song was strong. But Chiro is confident and heads out across the pond to see even more of the world through his song.
Berk’s writing is lyrical and lovely. He captures subtleties and beauty in his words, offering insight about what Chiro is seeing through his echolocation. When Chiro uses his song for the first time, Berk writes about it like this: “Tall trees called out to him, chanted the length of their long branches and the girths of their rough trunks.” As you can see, he asks children to reach higher with their language, inviting them to explore like Chiro does.
Long’s illustrations are a study in dark patterns and then bursts of color. Chiro is an exceedingly cute little bat, flying against haunting branches of shadow. When he sings, children will see the world come to life too, strengthened even more by Berk’s language. This is a beautiful book, perfect for a summer pajama story time.
A dark delight of a bat’s life, this book is lush in both language and imagery. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.
Go Baby Go! by Marilyn Janovitz
As baby gets fussy, they head out to the garden where baby is distracted by all sorts of things. The bubbles going pop, pop, pop. The blocks tumbling down and clickity clacking. There are mud pies, water from the hose, even treats to munch. Then everything gets quiet as baby falls asleep.
This charmer of the picture book has a jaunty rhythm mixed with plenty of repetition to catch the attention of very small children. Everything that happens here is what a child would find in their own backyard, making the book all the more interesting to children who will see themselves in it.
I’m the Scariest Thing in the Castle by Kevin Sherry
This board book has the same colorful, bold artwork as Sherry’s previous picture books. Here his creature is a merry bat who declares himself scarier than all of the other monsters in the haunted castle. And he does manage to play pranks and frighten all of the others, until the lights go out.
This jolly Halloween board book will appeal to small children with its bright colors, humor and the not-very-scary tone.