Great Illustrated Books

Bats at the Library

By Brian Lies

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2008
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 2-7
ISBN: 9780618999231

The same bats that cavorted in Bats at the Beach are back for another nocturnal adventure on an otherwise dull night. "We've feasted, fluttered, swooped, and soared, / And yet, we're still a little bored." So when "word spreads quickly from afar" that a window has been left ajar at the library, "They flutter off to lose themselves / among the books lined up on shelves." Glowing, flamboyant acrylic full bleed paintings of bats swooping into the library and gliding through the stacks will make your listeners eager to rush right to the library after dark and check out the goings-on.

Once inside, the techno-savvy bats take advantage of all a good library has to offer: the computer, the overhead projector, and even the copier, where they make photocopies of themselves, lying flat under the lid. The water fountain makes a "splendid swimming pool" for the young'uns, though one adult bat shushes them: "Please keep it down-you must behave! / This library is not your cave!"

Storytime calms everyone down. Together, bat kids and parents lose themselves in favorite books, including, of course, Goodnight Sun. You'll recognize lots of the classic titles they share, though all of the characters are depicted as bats; a familiar illustration from Make Way for Ducklings shows baby bats in a line, instead of baby ducks, for instance.

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If you love this book, then try:

Ackerman, Diane. Bats: Shadows in the Night. Crown, 1997.

Bash, Barbara. Shadows of Night: The Hidden World of the Little Brown Bat. Sierra Club, 1993.

Brown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight Moon. HarperCollins, 1947.

Cannon, Janell. Stellaluna. Harcourt, 1993.

Hall, Katy, and Lisa Eisenberg. Batty Riddles. Dial, 1993.

Kirk, David. Library Mouse. Abrams, 2007.

Knudsen, Michelle. Library Lion. Candlewick, 2006.

Lies, Brian. Bats at the Beach. Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Maestro, Betsy. Bats. Scholastic, 1994.

McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings. Viking, 1941.

Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Warne, 2002, c1903.

Pringle, Laurence. Bats!: Strange and Wonderful. Boyds Mills, 2000.

Sierra, Judy. Wild About Books. Knopf, 2004.

Critics have said

The author/artist outdoes himself: the library-after-dark setting works a magic all its own, taking Lies and his audience to an intensely personal place.
Publishers Weekly