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The New Guard

From the Booker the Library Bat series, volume 1

by Jess M. Brallier ; illustrated by Jeff Harter

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-64595-046-2
Publisher: Pixel+Ink

It’s not often that the answer to a book’s problem is poop….

Booker the bat is the newest guard at the library, eating bugs to protect the books. He’s nervous about his first day and hopes to fit in with the other guards, who gather before each shift to share the previous night’s adventures. Booker uses his first night to acquaint himself with the library, and he’s in the perfect place to spy a burglar, but how to stop him? Luckily, Booker’s learned from the other guards’ tales and enacts a plan to get the man caught. Children in the anything-potty-related-is-hysterical phase will love Booker’s solution. Harter’s illustrations give each bat their own personality, their every emotion clear. The burglar is light-skinned; the person wielding a mop the next morning has darker skin. An opening “Bats and Books” note tells about the library in Portugal where bats really do protect the rare book collection from insects. But by anthropomorphizing the bats and giving them a problem to solve, the author minimizes the real-life history and also muddies the facts. For instance, the book makes it seem as if the bats are trained not to poop in the library. Though the opening note does say that eating that many bugs does lead to a lot of bat poop, it doesn’t say how it’s truly addressed (librarians cover the antique tables nightly and clean the floors each morning). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A humorous tale that will appeal to the poop-obsessed but that trivializes the amazing real-life facts.

(Picture book. 3-8)