Chock-full of bat facts and photographs, this nonfiction book for young readers makes the case for bat conservation, including challenges that face the species and possible solutions.
Laidlaw opens the book with key bat facts about various species, how they live, and their biology, but he has already betrayed his true intent in the introduction: “I hope this book changes the way you think about bats and inspires you to get active helping them.” After the basics, it becomes a focused case for bat protection. Surprisingly, then, the chapter “Bats for a Healthy World” is the shortest, but it speaks to how vital bats are to the health of our ecosystem. Within each section, there are frequent, sometimes-intrusive “Bat Citizen” features that identify students (all presenting white) who are making positive impacts on bat communities. The smaller “bat facts” and “batty ideas” boxed items, on the other hand, fit in nicely with surrounding photographs. Though the scale is unclear, a striking center gatefold allows readers a closer look at a hoary bat. The backmatter includes a nice section on practical ways to help, but it doesn’t include any specific resources or works cited.
Look to this eye-catching book to be convinced of the wonders of the bat and how they are deserving of protection, but be prepared for advocacy. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)