cover image Bats at the Library

Bats at the Library

Brian Lies, . . Houghton Mifflin, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-99923-1

Lies's (Bats at the Beach ) much-lauded bats are back and the library's got them—thanks to a window left open by an unsuspecting (or perhaps sympathetic) librarian. Although the young ones initially misbehave (they make photocopies of their bodies and turn the water fountain into a splash pool), Lies cuts them a little slack: “It's hard to settle down and read/ when life flits by at dizzy speed.” Story time settles everyone (upside-)down, and soon the furry creatures are “completely swallowed up” in books, giving Lies comic license to bat-tify the signature visuals from classics like Make Way For Ducklings ; Pippi Longstocking ; Goodnight, Moon and Peter Rabbit . As with its predecessor, this book's richly detailed chiaroscuro paintings find considerable humor at the intersection where bat and human behavior meet. But the author/artist outdoes himself: the library-after-dark setting works a magic all its own, taking Lies and his audience to a an intensely personal place. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)