A dapper bat, resplendent in top hat, monocle and cane, strolls down 19th-century cobblestone streets to see where the night takes him.
Inspired by a real-life Japanese woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi showcasing bats and an umbrella (find the image tucked away in the illustrations), Parda and Schroeder create a debonair bat who hits the town of Batford. Upon meeting a lady bat friend in the town’s square, he asks her to dance (“A gentleman’s way to kindle romance”). They continue their walk, but rain threatens to ruin their evening. Luckily, he has an umbrella hidden in his cane. It’s an odd plot to be sure, but it’s absolutely charming in detail. Parda’s moonlit watercolors bring the Victorian era to life. Compact, wrinkled bat faces and webbed wings are folded into beautiful bonnets and full hoop skirts. Hidden jokes add to the fun. Sign posts advertise delectable drinks of coffee, nectar and plasma, while a corner merchant sells ear plugs (sure to make a bat’s evening more enjoyable). True to his eponym, the gentleman bat escorts the lady bat home, giving her a small kiss on the cheek at the gate.
A jaunty rhyme that just may teach manners to boot. (Picture book. 3-6)