Title: Bats: Night FliersBats2
Author: Betsy Maestro
Illustrator: Giulio Maestro
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 7-8
Star Rating: ★★★

Back when I lived in Louisiana, I would often go swimming in our outdoor pool late in the evening. There was something refreshing in paddling around or just floating in the water as the darkness gathered. As often as not, I could look up into the sky and watch tiny bats as they flew back and forth across the pool, chasing bugs and making soft rustling noises with their wings.

You may think that, because of this experience, I have a soft spot for bats. Well, I don’t. I think bats look creepy. Mind you, I’m not scared of them. If one tried to land on me, I’d probably swat it off, just like I’d swat off a fly, but I wouldn’t shriek. The only thing I shriek over is those huge sting bugs that sound like generators. One day, I’ll have to tell you the story of how one landed on me while I was riding my stationary bike…

#notpretty

Anyway, I’m getting distracted. Bats: Night Fliers is a small softcover which fills in its readers on the basic information regarding bats. Their skeletal structure, colonies, diets, and useful functions are discussed, as well as a host of miscellaneous facts. For example, did you know that…

  • The bumblebee bats of Thailand are the size of large bees and weigh less than an ounce.
  • Bats can live for 25 to 30 years!
  • A colony of bats can have as many as 20 million members!
  • Some bats can fly at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Interesting.

Cautions.

Some of the illustrations in Bats may scare children, not because violence is being depicted, but because bats naturally appear to be creepy.

On the fourth page we are informed that “bats have lived on Earth for about 50 million years.”  On the next page over, it is stated that bats “are mammals like cats, dogs, monkeys, and humans.”

Pgs. 28-31 are dedicated to how cruelly humans have been destroying bats and why we should welcome them in our environment. The book wraps up with this paragraph.

By protecting bats, people also help themselves. The Chinese have always believed that bats bring good luck. And they probably do. Places where bats live are usually healthy places where all life exists together in the right balance. Humans must learn to be kind to bats. They are nature’s helpers and true friends of the earth. [pg. 31]

On the last page we are also informed that “In the Chinese symbol WU-FU, five bats circle the Tree of Life. The bats represent health, wealth, long life, good luck, and happiness.” [pg. 31]

Conclusion. I could live without this book, and I believe that most children could, too. Bats, I have found, are not generally a favorite with children. Still, if you’re looking for a resource on bats, this one isn’t too bad.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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