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BAT AND RAT by Patrick Jennings


by Patrick Jennings & illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0160-3
Publisher: Abrams

A sweet friendship story hums with jazz and is heaped with ice cream.

Bat and Rat have a lot going on. Denizens of the uptown Hotel Midnight, Bat lives on the 33rd floor and Rat in the basement. Bat composes and plays piano in their jazz duo, while Rat writes the lyrics and sings. She’s stymied with the words for their new tune, so the pair meets for ice cream. Cordell’s amusing watercolors depict a William Steig–esque menagerie at the ice cream parlor. A frog’s long tongue licks a cone held at arm’s length, and a weasel-like worker labors mightily on Bat’s towering, seven-scoop treat. Jennings’ often-charming dialogue reveals the two friends’ characteristics: “Rat, can you hold my cone so I can fly up and lick my top scoop?” Alas, a skateboarding hare and zooming bus topple and flatten six of Bat’s scoops. Amid the flare of emotion over the spill (Bat chastises Rat, then apologizes), Rat finds the creative key to the song’s lyrics: She has many favorite things, but her “favorite favorite is Bat.” Concluding spreads depicting enthusiastic fans of many species at the hotel’s rooftop Twelve O’Clock Room and retrospective scenes of the friends' good times are paired with the little song’s affirming lyrics.

Cordell’s starry cityscapes combine with Jennings’ gentle text for an agreeable read-aloud—with a cherry on top. (Picture book. 4-8)