cover image The Bat in the Boot

The Bat in the Boot

Annie Cannon. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-09495-2

This appealing story of a family's encounter with a baby bat instantly piques interest with a dramatic prologue showing bats swooping onto a windowsill framed by the night sky. Then the scene shifts to a sunny afternoon when ""something bumpy and rubbery and alive"" is found inside Dad's empty boot. As children and parents care for their foundling (prying its claws from the boot, feeding it milk from an eyedropper, constructing a shoebox house), afternoon fades into evening--and the creature's mother returns unexpectedly. In her authorial debut, Cannon (illustrator of Whistle Home) moves the text at an optimal, easy-going rate via enthusiastic narration and economical yet natural dialogue. Soft-hued vignettes capture bat peculiarities (a sheer, silk-like wing; a belly that turns white when filled with milk) and add subtle humor (as the family speculates on the orphan over lunch, the boy nibbles his sandwich into the shape of a bat). Pure pleasure for bat-lovers; guaranteed therapy for bat-avoiders. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)