A three-part storybook about helping and friendship, starring a big-bellied bat.
In the first of three stories, “Batissimo, the Black Crow, and the Snapping Turtle,” Batissimo, a small but overweight bat, is so badly teased by his fellow bats that he vows to go on a diet, and he drinks nothing but English tea. Batissimo is soon so weak during his routine night flight that he forgets to check his radar and crashes into a black crow. They, in turn, land on a snapping turtle preparing to lay her eggs. Batissimo and the crow serve the angry turtle watermelon to appease her and give her a massage, a manicure and a pedicure. The three become fast friends, and Batissimo and the crow return the following spring to watch the turtle’s eggs hatch. The story effectively explores the importance of helping others and taking responsibility for one’s actions, as well as the meaning of friendship. The prose here, as in the other stories, is slightly complex for a picture book, but its themes are engaging and age-appropriate for early readers. The second story, “Batissimo and the Deer,” deals with heavier themes of death and grief. After witnessing a terrible car accident, Batissimo swoops down to comfort a dying deer, who asks the bat to go to his family and tell them that he’ll see them again in the afterlife; with a heavy heart, Batissimo does as he’s asked. Finally, in “Batissimo and Ratissimo,” the bat investigates a pile of garbage in his forest home and finds a New York City rat. Together, they brainstorm about ways to get rid of the garbage and get the rat back home. Their best idea is to create an earthquake to swallow the garbage, and Batissimo helps an old forest wizard concoct a magic potion to do so. Batissimo is a strong, engaging character likely to appeal to many children, and the stories’ kid-drawn illustrations give the book a charming, handmade feel.
A fine children’s book with likable characters and strong teaching moments.