A Boy Called Bat

Elana K. Arnold, illus. by Charles Santoso. Walden Pond, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-244582-7
When Bat’s veterinarian mother brings home an infant skunk to foster for a month, Bat—a third grader on the autism spectrum—hopes to prove that he’s responsible enough to keep the skunk, Thor, as a pet. Written in third person, this engaging and insightful story makes readers intimately aware of what Bat is thinking and how he perceives the events and people in his life. With empathy and humor, Arnold (Far from Fair) delves into Bat’s relationships with his divorced parents, older sister, teachers, and classmates. In one tender scene, Bat braids his sister’s hair: “Getting along with people was hard for Bat. Figuring out what they meant when they said something, or when they made certain faces at him... People were complicated. But braiding was easy.” Bat’s supportive family and school encourage his strategies for navigating a confusing world, and Santoso’s b&w spot illustrations quietly speak to his isolation, as well as the way he takes to Thor. A budding friendship and open-ended questions about Thor’s future will spark anticipation for the next book in this planned series. Ages 6–10. Author’s agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2017
Release date: 03/14/2017
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-266164-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4708-5923-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4708-5922-0
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-244584-1
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