Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Little Lost Bat

Sandra Markle; Illustrations by Alan Marks


This book really toes the line between fiction and non-fiction. Readers get a double dose by learning a host of interesting facts about bats and enjoying a heartwarming story. I was surprised by how engaging and endearing this book turned out to be. This is a lovely story about an animal that is typically seen as frightful or fearsome.

This tale begins with a mother bat bringing her new baby into the world. There are million of bats in the cave, but each mother and baby pair have their own special calls with which to find and identify each other. Every night the mother bats venture out to hunt for food, each needing to eat nearly her own weight in insects to have energy for nursing.

While out hunting one night, the mother bat is snatched up by an owl. Her baby cries and cries for her, his belly growling, but she does not return. The other female bats ignore his cries, until he is adopted by another mother who is searching for her own lost baby.

The text spacing is unusual, but once you are accustomed to the layout, it feels poetic. Because of the subject matter, the backgrounds are the cave interiors or the night sky. As you can see by the sample pages, the illustrations are watercolors in deep blues and purples - absolutely gorgeous. The drawings of the little lost bat crying for his mother just tug at your heartstrings.

All told - beautiful illustrations, great learning opportunities and a tender story make this a book we will read over and over again.

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