An African-born Canadian who made a splendid debut with his retelling of a Maasai tale (The Orphan Boy, 1991, ALA Notable Book) creates an appealing, apparently original pourquoi story: When drought withers the land, a bat joins the birds in seeking relief and is chosen as emissary. She flies to the moon, stars, wind, and clouds; the sun finally agrees to draw up water into rainclouds if the birds will later make it a nest. But once the rains have fallen, the birds are too busy with their own concerns to honor their part of the bargain; ashamed and afraid, the bat hides from the sun, coming out only at night. Mollel's narrative is lively and lucid, seamlessly incorporating appropriate bits of natural lore; Vidal's lightly stylized, mixed-media illustrations are pleasingly decorative and vibrant with the colors of earth, sky, and the African birds, including a truly splendid peacock. A fine choice for group sharing.