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Bats!: Strange and Wonderful Hardcover – February 1, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-A lucid text describes some general physical and behavioral characteristics common to all types of bats. The ways in which these flying mammals benefit world ecosystems (e.g., through insect consumption, seed dispersal, and plant pollination) are emphasized. Vibrant, realistic watercolors of representative species extend the text on every page. Some illustrations are enclosed in boxes and superimposed on larger paintings; in most, body parts extend beyond the frames, giving them a 3-D effect. A particularly effective series of paintings shows a vampire bat's ungainly walk on its hind legs toward a sleeping cow. While this title provides information similar to that in Betsy Maestro's Bats (Scholastic, 1994) and Gail Gibbons's Bats (Holiday, 1999), its simpler text conveys complex concepts in terms that most children understand. With its appealing illustrations in an eye-catching arrangement and clearly written text, Pringle's Bats! is equal to the best introductions on the subject for this age level.
Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
. "If you were a bat, you could stay up all night." So begins Pringle's child-friendly introduction to bats. Carefully crafted to overcome misconceptions and fears concerning bats, the text also provides basic information about the variety and habits of the flying mammals as well as their importance in the ecosystem. Readers may be surprised by some of the information, such as the fact that if hibernating bats are disturbed several times over the winter, they may die because they use too much energy in their wakened state. The text never descends to a "gee-whiz" tone, and the book is stronger for it. In an afterword, Pringle suggests ways to learn about bats first-hand and tells readers how to contact a bat conservation organization. Meryl Henderson's watercolor paintings illustrate the text with beauty and finesse. The many evening and night scenes set up dramatic contrasts using silhouetted figures. Harmonious colors, softly shaded from deep browns to glowing hues, are often accentuated by black backgrounds. Presented with respect for the subject and for the audience, this is one of the best of the many bat books, especially for a somewhat younger audience. Carolyn Phelan