Friday, September 2, 2011

Module 1: Bats at the Library

cover image from Indiebound
In the book Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (author, illustrator), a rhyming story is told of bats who venture into the library for a night of fun and frolic.  It appears that a librarian left a library window open, so the bats naturally take advantage of the situation to have bat night.  The older (sometimes adorably bespectacled) bats show the little bats around, and the bats amuse themselves with the books and the photocopier alike.  Perspective is a notable invisible character here, since bats hang upside-down, causing the reader to tilt and look at things slightly differently from time to time (including the author photo).  The little bats learn the magic of library storytime and libraries in general.

The book is sweet and short, with the illustrations being the main point.  I was delighted when I turned to a page nearer the end to find classic characters from literature re-imagined as bats (in the original style of the various character illustrations, no less).  To wit:

Images from

"Pictures light-handedly capture the Cheshire Bat, Winnie the Bat and Little Red Riding Bat" (Kirkus Reviews, 2008, para 1) and if one looks closely, there are other little tidbits as well, like a small green Hobbit (or would that be Hob-bat?) door in a hill.  While Kirkus may deem the rhyme about returning items to be preachy, I for one found it rather cute.  (Perhaps as one who always manages to have library fines, I find the idea of instilling good library-item-returning morals in kids particularly hopeful of Lies.)

The book is incredibly witty in its illustrations, and gorgeous at the same time:  "Bats cluster according to interests.  Some peruse 'guides to fancy foods' (insect books)"..."Lies's acrylics are a successful fusion of fantasy and reality" (Lukehart, 2008, para 1).

The book is, particularly as the Fall months approach, appropriate for the Halloween season.  It could be displayed prominently as a centerpiece to a Halloween-themed book display, with small bat cutouts and other "spooky" creature and Halloween-themed books alongside.  In addition to a possible display, since the bats are so adorable, it might be used as a recommendation to children whose parents perhaps want them to be less intimidated by the "scariness" of bats (this is a rather specific use, granted, but it's a use nonetheless).


BATS AT THE LIBRARY. (2008). Kirkus Reviews, 76(16), 194. Retrieved from EBSCOhost

Lies, B. (2008) Bats at the library. New York: New York: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

Lukehart, W. (2008). Bats at the library. School Library Journal, 54(11), 92. Retrieved from EBSCOhost

*Readers: I'm doing these reviews for a class, hence the "Module" terminology and APA.  In the words of Tim Gunn, carry on!

1 comment:

  1. I love this! I didn't read this one for our class, but now I'm thinking I've got to go pick it up. I love all the books about books. I especially love when writers/illustrators show their own takes on popular children's classics. Brilliant!