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Nightsong Hardcover – September 25, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416978860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416978862
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this gentle midnight allegory, a young bat is encouraged by his mother to strike out on his own into the wide world outside their cave. Little Chiro, far more adorable than your average bat, thanks to the puppy-dog face Long gives him, is worried about not being able to see in the dark, to which his mother offers the reassurance that there are other ways to see . . . Use your good sense. Kids up on their chiropteran knowledge will see where this is going: Chiro floats through intimidating black washes until he begins to sing, a ray of light emanating from his mouth that illuminates the path ahead as he flies past the woods, through a flock of geese, and to the pond, where he gobbles contentedly on tasty bugs. Paralleling good sense with both a song to light a path and with a bat’s echolocation might require kids to flex their conceptualization muscles a bit, but Long’s gorgeous artwork, in which the warmly hued bat flits through steep, rich darkness, goes a long way toward making this one a winner. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ian Chipman

Review

"Berk presents a delicate, lyrical story about independence, trusting one's instincts and abilities, and bats. Written in passionate prose-poetry...it's a brilliant description of echolocation and an equally strong metaphor for the logic and perception that human children can use to cut through fear."
-- Publishers Weekly


"Chiro is both alien and us, bat and beyond, childlike and knowing, a savant and anyone who grows into his/her song. This is what a picture book should be." -- Jane Yolen, bestselling author of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

"An ideal book for sending a child to school for the first time, tryouts for a team or a class play...[t]his lyrical, sumptuous picture book about a small bat taking his first solo night flight will inspire confidence in any child trying something new--and independently--for the first time."
-- Shelf Awareness

* "Exquisite design coupled with evocative illustrations enrich this charming tale of a little bat taking his first solo flight and how he learns to “see” with his “good sense,” otherwise known as echolocation.... Young ones will relate to Chiro and cheer as he gains confidence with his newfound skill and will be deeply satisfied flying along on his sensory-rich journey."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"There is nothing at all cute about bats, but don’t tell that to the talented Long...who has managed in the past to make even a tractor endearing.... Berk’s able storytelling enriches and elaborates...a message about making your way in the world. Even when you're completely in the dark." (The New York Times Book Review )

"Ari Berk's (The Secret History of Mermaids) lyrical text and Loren Long's acrylic-and-graphite nightscapes re-imagine the classic tale of a young one leaving its nest as a journey of not only independence but also of creativity.... This lyrical, sumptuous picture book about a small bat taking his first solo night flight will inspire confidence in any child trying something new--and independently--for the first time." (Shelf Talker )

More About the Author

Please visit Ari Berk on the web at: www.ariberk.com

Ari Berk is an award-winning writer, folklorist, poet, visual artist, and scholar of literature, iconography, and comparative myth. Deeply dedicated to interdisciplinary writing, teaching, and research, Dr. Berk holds degrees in Ancient History (B.A.), American Indian Studies (M.A.), and Comparative Literature and Culture (Ph.D.). The former student of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday, he has studied at Oxford and traveled widely, making friends in many parts of the world.

By day, he is professor of English at Central Michigan University, teaching courses in mythology, folklore, American Indian studies, and medieval literature, as well as sitting on the board of directors of the Mythic Imagination Institute.

But by night, locked away within a high tower, Ari works tirelessly on his numerous writing projects surrounded by thousands of books and curious artifacts of ages past. To date, he has written the following books which you are most welcome to investigate further:

DEATH WATCH [Book one of The Undertaken Trilogy]

They say the dead should rest in peace. Not all the dead agree.

One night, Silas Umber's father Amos never comes home from work. Devastated, Silas struggles to understand what could make an ordinary mortician disappear from the face of the earth. But he's about to learn that Amos was no mere mortician: he was the Undertaker of Lichport, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands and Mist Homes, those states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town and necropolis where they all were born, and move in with Amos's brother, Charles, the town's former funeral photographer.

Even while Silas eagerly explores his father's town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber's ornate, museum-like house--something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father's disappearance. Determined to find his father, Silas's search leads him to his father's old office, where he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead.

With the Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport's secret history--and discovers that he has inadvertently taken on his father's mantle as Lichport's Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father, no matter the cost.

***

THE SECRET HISTORIES(tm) Series (Templar UK/Candlewick US) - For thousands of years The Order of the Golden Quills have chronicled and collected knowledge and wisdom of The Huldur or Secret Folk, those races spoken of in legend, about whom little is now known. The Secret Histories(tm) books reveal the wonders and mysteries in the landscapes around us all the time -- the places whose stories are forgotten, or are still waiting to be discovered -- the places where Secret Folk still reside, waiting to shake hands with us again. The first two volumes are:
---THE SECRET HISTORY OF GIANTS
The Order of the Golden Quills presents its first volume of study on the mighty Giants. In this tome we discover the life of these titans and the work they have undertaken to shape our world. Explore their secrets, witness their fun... and their fury, and learn where to seek out the noble Great Folk... for they might be nearer than you think.
**Winner if the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) 2009 Notable Award.
**Winner of the Parent's Choice 2008 Recommended Award
---THE SECRET HISTORY OF MERMAIDS AND CREATURES OF THE DEEP
A fascinating compendium investigating the undersea world of the merfolk exploring: oceanic magic, merfolk language and customs, underwater villages, historical evidence of merfolk and their unfortunate capture, maps of the oceanic zones and their various inhabitants, perilous creatures of the sea and how to avoid them, and remarkable revelations about merfolk/human relations.

***

COYOTE SPEAKS - WONDERS OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN WORLD (Abrams, 2008) - Myths, legends and wonder tales from the ancient Native American world to the present. Beautifully illustrated with masterworks of Native American art. Written with Carolyn Dunn (Creek/Cherokee).

***

HOW TO BE A VIKING (Templar UK 2008) -- The account of Ari the Learned, a 12th century Icelandic scholar, written for young and aspiring Vikings to help them navigate the perils and adventures of the Norse world. Lessons include translating and reading runes, skaldic speaking, calendar customs, and safely traversing the nine worlds while avoiding trolls, dragons, and giants!

***

LADY COTTINGTON'S PRESSED FAIRY LETTERS (Abrams 2005) - The recently discovered book of Lady Angelica Cottington's fairy correspondence. Includes letters from such worthies as J.M. Barrie, Rasputin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Wendy Darling, Oscar Wilde, Annie Oakley and others. Illustrated by Brian Froud.

***

GOBLINS! (Abrams 2004) - Berk and Froud once again join forces, lifting the moldy latch and opening the door to the world of GOBLINS! Containing Messrs. Berk and Froud's curious experiments and first hand knowledge, this is the single greatest source of information regarding the Goblins' horrible habits, awful art, sticky tricks, bizarre customs, and crude culture (illustrated by Brian Froud).

***

THE RUNES OF ELFLAND (Abrams 2003) - A single word can be a world and every letter a land. The word "rune," long ago, could be a letter, a word, an epic, or a spell. Through this book's charms (poems), tellings (stories), gifts (ponderings), and lavish illustrations (by Brian Froud) we learn that the right words can still open a door into Elfland, into wonder, and that storied landscapes are all around us, even now, waiting to be discovered.



Customer Reviews

Very cute story and the illustrations are beautiful.
Bev Nyhuis
I have a 5 and 8 year olds boy and both enjoy this book and I enjoy the message of the book.
Amy
This is one of the books I read to my kids, regularly.
Beau Landrum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Susan Mayer on September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had heard rumours about this book, that it was beautiful to look at and beautiful to read, but when at last it came into my hands I could not put it down. The story is precious and written with just the right flair; the illustrations are gorgeous and whimsical. If this is a children's book I am glad to be a child again, for it has brought me back to a sense of wonder I had too long ago put in that place adults sometimes do. Thank you Ari Berk and Loren Long. Thank you for brightening my day with your song of night.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By happymama on September 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a cute little story about an adorable bat, Chiro, who's mother tells him it's time to go out by himself and find his own food. When Chiro expresses concern about being alone and not being able to see very well, his mother tells him, "Use your good sense... Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you." I like this. As you might suspect, Chiro was frightened at first, but remembered his mother's words and everything went very well. The illustrations (mostly of Chiro) are absolutely enchanting.

The part I take issue with is that Chiro's mother also told him to come home after eating breakfast and to not go past the pond "unless your song is sure." Well, after he gets full he sings his loudest and goes over the ocean for a bit and then decides to go home. My kids (5 and 4) were confused as to why he kept going past the pond when his mother told him to come home, and I had to explain about his "song being sure." That's fine... but there was no story development after that. The author has a very poetic style of writing and his description of the ocean song, so to speak, was lovely... but sort of anticlimactic. Chiro just wanted to explore, which is also just fine. Again, this spurred more questions from my kids, "Why didn't she want him to go past the pond? Is it dangerous out there?" Didn't seem to be. It was just his first time out by himself and she wanted him home soon. Kids are used to stories like "Peter Rabbit" where mothers have clear rules for clear reasons. But again... it's fine.

It would be helpful for a child to have some understanding of bats and how they "see" prior to reading this story. National Geographic Kids has a great one about Bats. "Hello, Bumblebee Bat" by Darrin Lunde is also an excellent choice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on December 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: As strange as this sounds, I am terrified of bats in real life but I absolutely love anthropomorphic bats in books.

This is an absolutely gorgeously illustrated book about a little bat who goes out by himself for the first time using his "good sense" to see in the dark. While the story is completely cute and fictional it also manages to convey exactly how echolocation works for bats. The background of the pages are all black and textured, as if they represented the bat's hair. The bats in the story are brown bats though and contrast well against the black background. Fabulous, adorable illustrations! Chiro, the little bat is so cute! The story is a nature adventure as Chiro discovers his nighttime world and it is a story of a mother's love as she sends her son off on his own but is waiting for him with arms wide open when he returns. Oversized, thick glossy pages, a quality book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Dewey TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Length: 6:05 Mins
I loved the artwork in this book. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen. I really wish that the artist, Loren Long, had prints of his work, because this is the kind of artwork that I want to display in my house.

The artwork is mostly blacks and dark grays, because it all takes place at night. At first Chiro, the baby bat, can't see very much at all because he's seeing with his eyes. But then his mom teaches him how to use his sense, and the world opens up to him.

And that's where it comes back to the artwork. I think it would be extremely hard to draw a whole book about the blackness of the night, and make it so it's just not a bunch of black pages. Long is adept with working with the blacks and dark grays and making the night come to life in what first looks very minimalist.

Pros:
+Awesome artwork
+Great, touching, heartwarming story
+Extremely high quality book
+The bats are very cute, with adorable floppy ears

Cons:
-A bunch of dark artwork might not be for everyone, but it was for me
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda Greeson on September 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully illustrated book. I was looking for animal stories for a preschool program at the zoo. Having a book about nocturnal animals is a great addition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bonnie robinson on June 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I seek "children's" books, precisely because they are designed for th age of the soul not the human being. This is unique and tenderly poignant on many levels...for those with "ears to hear" or not. Thank you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ycnan on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fledgling bat's adventure becomes a life lesson. I bought this book for my granddaughter who is "afraid" of almost everything. Adults who read it have also learned to spread their wings and fly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Snow on June 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ari Berk's Nightsong is delightfully sweet and dark. It's the perfect bedtime story to read to children to take them to dreamlands of fantasy.
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