Daniel must find a way to get a talking bat back to its home country while evading his tattletale next-door neighbor.
Daniel Misumi has just moved into an old, creaky, and possibly haunted house. He hears a disembodied voice, and strange puddles keep appearing on the floor. Fortunately for Daniel, it’s not a ghost but a talking fruit bat, which he names Megabat. It seems that Megabat was napping on a papaya when it was picked and crated to be shipped across the world. Now he’s living in Daniel’s house, sad and alone. With the help of Talia, his neighbor, Daniel devises a way to mail Megabat back. When that fails, and Talia’s annoying little brother threatens to expose them, the two friends must find a way to get Megabat home quickly. As the story evolves, Megabat and Daniel become friends, and Megabat finds a pigeon companion, Birdgirl. The story touches on familiar topics such as struggling to make new friends, moving to a new place, missing home, and animal care. The miscommunications between humans and a fruit bat are ridiculous yet funny, and Reich’s soft illustrations add further, gentle humor. Many readers may find the ending abrupt and a romantic subplot unnecessary, but they can’t help but enjoy the talking bat and scatological references. Daniel’s Japanese heritage is indicated by his name; Talia presents white.
A charming tale. (Fiction. 7-10)