- Age Range: 6 - 10 years
- Grade Level: 1 - 5
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Walden Pond Press (March 14, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062445820
- ISBN-13: 978-0062445827
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#42,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #106 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Special Needs
- #264 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Family Life > Parents
- #1242 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Friendship
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A Boy Called Bat Hardcover – March 14, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Bixby Alexander Tam, or Bat, has autism. He has a high need for structure; anything out of the ordinary causes him anxiety. When his mother, a vet, is late coming home from work one day, Bat is panicked. His mother explains she has a good reason, and tells him about the baby skunk she has brought home. The mother skunk did not survive a car accident, but Bat's mom was able to save the kit, and they will raise him at home for a month until he is old enough to be released to a wild animal shelter. Bat, who wants to be a vet himself someday, is fascinated by the kit, named Thor by his sister. Feeling that no one will be able to care for Thor as well as he can, Bat tries to find a way to convince his mother to keep the kit as a pet. This tender novel starts out slowly, focusing on Bat's frequent frustration. Arnold shows more than tells, crafting a nuanced character. Readers learn that Bat goes to a school that values his uniqueness and works with him on interpersonal dynamics like developing an awareness of other people's feelings, empathy, and friendship. Midway through the book, the pacing picks up. Bat's relationships with his teacher and a vet at his mother's clinic are particularly enjoyable and add humor to the novel. Santoso's illustrations, appearing about once a chapter, add warmth. Short chapters and a straightforward plot make this a good candidate for reluctant readers. VERDICT The challenges facedby kids like Bat are often underrepresented in children's literature; this is a refreshing depiction. Readers will appreciate this funny and thoughtful novel.—Juliet Morefield, Multnomah CountyLibrary, OR
“A Boy Called Bat will help children understand autism and that everybody loves animals.” (Temple Grandin, author of Animals In Translation)
“Brimming with quietly tender moments, subtle humor, and authentically rendered family dynamics, Arnold’s story, the first in a new series, offers a nonprescriptive and deeply heartfelt glimpse into the life of a boy on the autism spectrum.” (ALA Booklist)
“Written in third person, this engaging and insightful story makes readers intimately aware of what Bat is thinking and how he perceives the events and people in his life. With empathy and humor, Arnold delves into Bat’s relationships with his divorced parents, older sister, teachers, and classmates.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Delightful, endearing, and utterly relatable, Bat Tam is destined to be a dear and necessary friend for young readers. I adore him and his story.” (Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy)
“A Boy Called Bat is sensitive, sweet, and super fun. I read this book with the biggest smile on my face.” (Corinne Duyvis, author of Otherbound)
“Comfortably familiar and quietly groundbreaking, this introduction to Bat should charm readers, who will likely look forward to more opportunities to explore life from Bat’s particular point of view.” (Kirkus Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews
One day, his mother (a veterinarian) brings home a newborn baby skunk that she helped saved after the mother skunk got hit by a car. She only plans to take care of it until she can get the baby to a rescue organization and she is counting on Bat to help her. Bat is over the moon excited about this baby skunk and wants to love it, and pet it, and name it Thor. Although Bat’s mother has told him that they will not be able to keep the skunk, Bat is a determined little boy and tries to enlist the help of Dr. Jerry Dragoo who runs the Dragoo Institute for the Betterment of Skunks and Skunk Reputations. (And yes, this is a real place. You can visit the website at dragoo.org to find out all about skunks!) Anywho…. Bat is certain that if he gets Dr. Dragoo’s letter of endorsement, his mother will surely let him keep baby Thor. Will his plan work? Well, you will just have to pick up this adorable book and find out!
A Boy Called Bat is an excellent story for children as well as adults that will keep the reader engaged throughout – not only to find out if Bat gets to keep the skunk, but also witnessing him tip-toe out of his comfort zone to make new friends. There are super cute illustrations throughout and the writing is simplistic enough for any young child to read. I’m glad that I got to spend some time with Bat, and I assure you that you will as well.
If you know me, you might know why A Boy Called Bat piqued my interest at first sight: there's a boy called Bat, and the cover has a skunk on it. Sign me up! To further my intrigue, the synopsis itself wasn't too shabby--a boy's veterinarian mom brings home a baby skunk to foster, and the boy forms a friendship with said skunk and tries to keep him as a pet. Really, all of this is very Rachel, so it makes total sense that I would read it. And I did. And I quite liked it!
Meet Bixby Alexander Tam, aka Bat. He's a third grader who loves animals, vanilla yogurt, and for his clothes to be organized by the weather they're appropriate for. It's never actually said in the book, but Bat is on the autism spectrum. And like I said in the previous paragraph, when Bat's mom brings home an orphaned skunk kit, Bat immediately falls in love--and wants to keep the kit forever. But the book isn't really about Bat and the kit--it's really about Bat, and I feel like it's sort of a coming of age novel of sorts. It's quick and it's short (borderline chapter book/Middle Grade, but don't let that stop you, no matter your age), but we still get to see progress in Bat, see him grow. And I think that's the point.
If I wouldn't have gone into this novel knowing Bat was on the autism spectrum, I don't know what I would've thought. (Aspects of the novel confirm it, and I've seen it mentioned in multiple reviews.) I don't say that because it wasn't handled well; I say that because I'm unfamiliar with autism and how to recognize it and its different forms and how it all works. That said, I do think it was handled well. You can tell there's something about Bat, but the thing about Bat is that he's just Bat, plain and simple. And A Boy Called Bat did a really swell job at being about a boy on the autism spectrum without really being about a boy on the autism spectrum. If that even makes sense.
A Boy Called Bat is exactly about what the title suggests: a boy called Bat. It's like, here, have a quick glimpse into the life a boy who just happens to be called Bat. This isn't by any means a fluffy novel, but it is a kid's novel, and it's really rather light, which I liked; I don't think it--or Bat or his life--needed to be heavy. But there were these occasional moments that were suddenly heavy, and bam--I felt like crying. They were the tender moments, the moments that seem so mundane but that, for Bat, are a milestone or show how he's just a little bit different (but not in a bad way). It was heartbreaking. As the novel went on and I became familiar with the tone, I wasn't expecting something like that to pop up, but it did--and I liked it and what it brought to the story.
Sometimes a book comes along that's so far out of your age range that you wonder if you should even bother reading it. A Boy Called Bat just may be one of those reads. It's really short, the font is large, there are pictures, the main character is a third grader--it's not everyone's cup of tea. But I, a twenty-something, have found that books meant for readers much younger than myself tend to hit the spot and never miss. And there's something about A Boy Called Bat and the story it tells and message it shows, and I believe it's important. Sure--I would've liked a bit more from the skunk, for I am an animal lover. But this wasn't the skunk's story. It was Bat's. And it was a sweet and tender one.
Why this will appeal to young readers:
Animals-children have a love of animals, we know this. The desire Bat has to raise the baby skunk is one kids will identify with. What kid doesn't want to raise a baby animal?
The cover-Bold, simple, clean. This cover doesn't work too hard at appealing to one type of reader over another.
It's real-Bat feels real. The interactions between he and his family also feel real. Nothing here is forced, there is no agenda.
Readability-Short chapters, illustrations sprinkled throughout, and generous white space will make this chunky book feel accessible to readers that hesitate at lengthy stories.
And once kids are lured in by the animal aspect, the cover, the realness and the readability, there won't be any trouble keeping them. It's hard not to fall in love with Bat and his mission.
A Boy Called Bat wasn't just touching, it was a lot of fun! Adventurous and full of adolescent curiosity, it's a great book to read with your kids, or hand them to read if they're older and waiting on you to get your tooth cleaned.
Thanks to the publisher and tour host for the review opportunity!