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Stellaluna Hardcover – April 30, 1993
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
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Baby bat Stellaluna's life is flitting along right on schedule--until an owl attacks her mother one night, knocking the bewildered batlet out of her mother's loving grasp. The tiny bat is lucky enough to land in a nest of baby birds, but her whole world has just turned upside down. Literally. Stellaluna's adoptive bird mom accepts her into her nest, but only on the condition that Stellaluna will act like a bird, not a bat. Soon Stellaluna has learned to behave like a good bird should--she quits hanging by her feet and starts eating bugs. But when she finally has an opportunity to show her bird siblings what life as a bat is like, all of them are confounded. "How can we be so different and feel so much alike?" one asks. "And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?" asks another. "I agree," Stellaluna responds. "But we're friends. And that's a fact." Anyone who has ever been asked to be someone they're not will understand the conflicts--and possibilities--Stellaluna faces. This gorgeously illustrated book is sure to be an all-time favorite with readers, whether they've left the nest or not. (Click to see a sample spread. Illustration from Stellaluna, © 1993 by Janell Cannon, reproduced by permission of Harcourt Brace & Company) (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From Kirkus Reviews
Attacked by an owl, Stellaluna (a fruit bat) is separated from her mother and taken in by a bird and her nestlings. Dutifully, she tries to accommodate--she eats insects, hangs head up, and sleeps at night, as Mama Bird says she must--but once Stellaluna learns to fly, it's a huge relief when her own mother finds her and explains that the behavior that comes naturally is appropriate to her species. With a warm, nicely honed narration, Cannon strikes just the right balance between accurate portrayal of the bats and the fantasy that dramatizes their characteristics. Her illustrations, in luminous acrylics and color pencils, are exquisite. The appealingly furry, wide-eyed, fawn-colored bats have both scientific precision and real character; they're displayed against intense skies or the soft browns and greens of the woodland in spare, beautifully constructed (occasionally even humorous) compositions. Delightful and informative but never didactic: a splendid debut. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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What makes this book so special? E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!! The story line, the embedded lessons, and the sweet, sweet illustrations. I don't know how well you can see the young bat's face on the cover. If you can, notice that darling tongue sticking out, like a puppy's. Notice her struggle, expressed with joy, to hold on to the limb. And we have not even opened the book yet!
This is the story of a young bat who is separated from her mother after an owl attacks them in flight. She falls into a tree, then into a bird's nest filled with three hungry babies who are already fully feathered. The mother bird adopts her but insists she eat bugs like her babies. Stellaluna is a fruit bat, but adopts the ways of birds, except for hanging by her feet to sleep. Her new siblings try it one day. Mother returns and expresses her dismay. The babies are hilariously portrayed with their bird feathers hanging down from their heads.
When they learn to fly, poor Stellaluna is so clumsy trying to land upright on a limb with feet equipped for hanging, not perching. At night her bat radar comes into play and she goes weird on them flying by radar. Eventually, her bat mother finds her and Stella's world is restored. She discovers she eats mangoes, not bugs. She is delighted!
And the second best part is that she remains friends with her bird friends.
1. Bats are what they are; birds are what they are.
2. We can accept each other's differences and be enriched by the experience.
3. It's good to walk in another's shoes just a short time.
4. There are some artists with stories sweet and heartwarming without being saccharine.
5. The author furnishes "Bat Notes" on the last two pages for further educational value.
This book belongs in every child's personal library and on the shelf in every children's library. Highly recommended.
Other favorite books by Janell Cannon:
Lovely message and illustrations. This is now part of the library of classics I give newborns of my acquaintance.