Thursday, March 8, 2012
I've been wanting to write about this book since we brought it home from the library last week, but somehow the days keep getting away from me and the nights get too late too quickly, so now that I have a few minutes I'm just going to get right to it. This book is fabulous in every way. It's wonderfully clever, fun to read, and its illustrations are amazing! Plus, it's also about the magic and wonder of one of our most beloved places: the local library. If you love libraries and books as much as we do, you've got to check this one out. "Can it be true? Oh, can it be? Yes! -- Bat Night at the library!" We fell in love with Bats at the Beach a few months back, but had to return it to the library before I had a chance to feature it here. I made a mental note to check it out again sometime, but now I figure I can just rave about its equally wonderful sequel and you can be on the lookout for both. (In fact, I think I love Bats at the Library even more, which is also partly why I'm writing about it, instead. There is also Bats at the Ballgame, though I haven't read that one yet.) In Bats at the Library, those curious little critters are back and looking for more adventure. When word gets out that a window has been left open at the library, the bats fly off to one of their favorite places for a night of fun. "For most old bats, this isn't new -- they've got lots of things to do. They'll flutter off and lose themselves among the books lined up on shelves. Other bats, in munchy moods, will study guides to fancy foods [bugs!] or hang out by a lamp instead to talk about the books they've read." Young bats frolic about making shadows on the walls, splashing in the water fountain, and playing wing-tip tag as they flutter about the halls. Eventually, they settle in for story time, and to me, this is where the book becomes even more brilliant. Brian Lies' illustrations are so wonderfully clever and creative here, and I just love how he depicts the way good stories draw us in until we feel like we are a part of them. I also love so many of the little details in the pictures, such as how the books are upside down while the bats read. My favorite pages in the whole book are the double-page spreads that feature different famous literary characters (as bats, of course): McCloskey's Make Way for Batlings, Little Red Riding Bat, Winnie the Pooh Bat, Peter Rabbat, Mr. Bat's Wild Ride, even a family of bats cuddling together to read "Goodnight Sun," among others. Delightful content of the illustrations aside, Lies' ability to paint nighttime scenes is simply stunning. I'm talking truly amazing. If you have any painting or drawing experience yourself, you know how incredibly hard it is to create nighttime images, mostly because casting light and shadows and getting those tones to be just right can feel near impossible. Lies' illustrations, however, shine the perfect light on our friends' nocturnal escapades. Whether you love libraries, bats, or are just looking for an all around fun book to read with your little one, Bats at the Library is one that is sure to delight readers of all ages.