Homeless Bat moves in, unannounced, with Squirrel. Can this odd couple live together in peace?
When Bat loses his home, he first tries an attic full of bats, who are too crowded to accept him. The fox, the skunk, and a nest of birds all turn him down as well. And he can’t quite fit under a large mushroom. Then Bat notices a bunch of leaves lodged in a tree, with a small opening. Inside, he finds a cozy place to sleep. (He doesn’t even notice Squirrel sleeping soundly nearby.) When Squirrel wakes up, she’s startled to see a sleeping bat hanging from her ceiling, so fast asleep he can’t be woken. Squirrel leaves a polite note, drawn in pencil on a big brown leaf, before she sets off to hide acorns. Bat’s written answer is equally polite. But, given the nature of their respective sleep cycles, the two don't see each other for days. More notes follow; when Squirrel writes a note telling Bat to leave, Bat responds by adding more “leaves” to the cozy home. It takes a while, but Squirrel finally realizes she wants a friend, and Bat’s happy to be that. Meisel’s plot moves in appealing increments, stressing the importance not only of friendship, but also of courtesy; the epistolary relationship is an added bonus. His rich palette and expressively drawn animals add warmth to an important message.
Odd-couple stories are far from an endangered species, but this one’s worth making room for. (Picture book. 3-6)