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Bats at the Library Hardcover – September 8, 2008
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3—In this companion to Bats at the Beach (Houghton, 2006), Lies pays homage to the pleasures to be found within libraries and books. The story opens on three winged creatures clinging to an autumnal branch against the backdrop of evening. Observant readers will recognize the young bat with yellow "water wings" from the earlier title and notice that the chimney and trees at the top of the page point downward—a cue to attend to perspective. The bats are bored, but an antidote is announced: someone left a window open in the library. The golden glow from spotlights on the side of the building and an Arts and Crafts-style reading lamp illuminate the nocturnal adventures in this handsome, traditional space. The bats cluster according to interests. Some peruse "guides to fancy foods" (insect books) and form literary discussion groups. The younger mammals make images of themselves at the copier, frolic in the fountain, play at the computer, and explore the gingerbread castle in a pop-up book. An impromptu storytime brings everyone together, however, and after the pint-size protagonist is literally drawn into the featured book, two spreads reveal a montage of scenes from classic stories, with bats in the starring roles. Lies's acrylics are a successful fusion of fantasy and reality. The rhyming narrative is generally smooth, with enough humor and sophistication to propel readers along. And who can argue with the message?—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
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An open library window is an invitation for a colony of bats in this sequel to Bats at the Beach (2006). Once inside, older bats look for favorite books, while younger ones explore and play. Storytime settles everyone down and transports them into the tales, filled with bat characters playing new roles. The bat homage to classic children’s books includes titles like Goodnight Sun, while images such as Little Red Riding Bat will amuse children who are familiar with the originals. The rhymed narrative serves primarily as the vehicle for the appealing acrylic illustrations that teem with bats so charming they will even win over chiroptophobes. Preschool-Grade 3. --Linda Perkins
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Top customer reviews
Now that I'm the school's librarian, I used this book on the first day of library services for our storytime. I paired it with a bat puppet who's now our library mascot. After I read the story, I pointed out the line "This is not your cave!". I made a sign for our library with bats and that line and, whenever the kids get over-enthusiastic, I remind them them they're not in their cave! Works like a charm.
As a teacher, I'm always looking for "hooks" to entice my kids to pay attention. I used this book with a group of fifth graders prior to visiting a nearby public library.
The illustrations (which have lots of details and goings on) drew my students in and the prose, though simple, produced many giggles and snorts. They all loved the idea of bats believing a visit to the library as an special adventure.
When we arrived at the library, the students found themselves looking for opportunities for their own adventures and tied theirs in with those in the book. (I clued in the librarian who hosted us before this activity.) In the end, I believe that the charm of the book made what many considered a dreary fieldtrip into something much more interesting.
I would use this book with any child prior to visiting a library: it will open their eyes to what they might have missed.