A brother and sister bat enjoy a fun-filled week together.
Bill the Bat is back, and it’s time for him to watch his little sister Bella for a week while their parents are away. While Bill makes his late, frantic trip to her house, Bella waits with adoring eyes and a long list of games and activities. The brother and sister do every single one and live it up all week long with pizza and treats and trips to the zoo. Then their parents come home from vacation, and the savvy adult reading the book is thinking, “Where’s the conflict here? Is something going to go wrong? Is there a climax to this book?” (There is not.) But the kid listening is probably thinking, “I wish I had a big brother like Bill.” Bella’s tearful goodbye might be Cobb’s (Bill the Bat Loves Halloween, 2007, etc.) nod to traditional narrative structure, but her family reassures her so quickly that one could hardly say it builds any tension. Truly, Bill’s own joy in spending time with his sister is so unique and sweet that it doesn’t matter. Some of the meandering storyline—introducing characters like Sid the spider, Hank the dog and the old owl, who have no role in the story—feels like padding or an attempt to build a world worthy of a larger franchise, but some kids will appreciate the extra detail. Cobb’s rhythms and rhymes tend toward singsong but rarely intrude on the story. Pentangelo’s illustrations are rich with color and detail and full of little quirks to discuss. (Why do the dad’s goggles have one extra-long eyepiece and one normal one? Why does Bill have a little broadcast speaker on his goggles when the other bats don’t? Why would bats wear goggles at all? Who knows?) Curious kids will especially enjoy the bedtime-extending lists of bat facts at the beginning and end of the book, all of which go beyond the usual “bats aren’t blind.”
A sweet book celebrating brother–sister bonds.