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The Bat-Poet Paperback – October 25, 1996
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Randall Jarrell's The Bat-Poet is the story of an artist. Although the bat-poet may look like a furry mouse with wings, he swells with an artistic sensibility. One day, he discovers how amazing it is to stay awake during daylight hours, exploring things mostly unseen by standard, nocturnal bats. But when he tries to get his bat friends to stay awake with him, they say, "Day's to sleep in." And so the sensitive bat-poet is left alone to embrace the wonders of the day, including the fascinating activities of the possums, squirrels, chipmunks, and especially the mockingbird. The bat-poet attempts to sing a song like the mockingbird's, "But when he tried, his high notes were all high and the notes in between were all high," so he imitates the mockingbird's words instead, and concocts poetry about how the sun "shines like a million moons" and other daytime marvels. Children will identify with the bat-poet's struggle to be understood, and adults will revel in Jarrell's artful prose and gentle wisdom. Maurice Sendak decorates more than illustrates the book with delicate, endearing pen-and-ink sketches of woodland scenes--the perfect complement to Jarrell's lyrical, philosophical, exquisitely spun fable. School Library Journal writes, "The totality charms by turns the eye, the ear, and the imagination, and as true poetry must, it satisfies the heart." (All ages) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
There was once a little brown bat who couldn't sleep days—he kept waking up and looking at the world. Before long he began to see things differently from the other bats, who from dawn to sunset never opened their eyes. The Bat-Poet is the story of how he tried to make the other bats see the world his way.
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Top Customer Reviews
That The Bat-Poet is so little known has always been a mystery to me. Then again, considering the state of publishing in this country, maybe it's not such a mystery. And maybe it's just as well that word-of-mouth is what brings new readers to the Bat-Poet.
discovers he can make up poems when he decides to stay on the porch and the
rest of his family moves to the barn. Because he is now alone, he has lot
of time to think and compose poetry.
His first poem is a scary one because it is about an owl that almost devours
him. When he “says” the poem to the mockingbird, the mockingbird replies,
“Why, I like it. . . technically it’s quite accomplished. The way you change
the rhyme-scheme’s particularly effective.”
When the bat says the poem to the chipmunk, the chipmunk doesn’t say
anything about the “technical” aspects of the poem, he just says, “It’s like
the owl. . . scary.” The chipmunk is saying that the poem made him feel
One day the bat made up a poem about the chipmunk and said it to him.
The bat eventually tells it to the chipmunk two times, he likes it so much.
When he finally makes up a poem about himself and about bats, he finally
knows where he belongs and that is with other bats. So he goes to find his
family in the barn. He snuggles up to them, but as he is going to sleep he
still wishes that bats slept all winter, like his friend the chipmunk.
What I like best about this book is when he finally understands what it
means to be a bat. And he is happy to be a bat.
There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about the story.
I would recommend this book to anyone – people who like poetry and people
who think they don't like poetry. They might change their mind. I know his poem about the chipmunk inspired me to write a poem about my dog!