The Gentleman Bat

Abraham Schroeder, illus. by Piotr Parda. Ripple Grove (Midpoint Trade, dist.), $16.99 (44p) ISBN 978-0-9913866-0-4
Schroeder and Parda make their children’s book debut with a fittingly genteel story that follows the nocturnal stroll of the gentleman bat of the title; the book is also the first from publisher Ripple Grove. Writing in rhymed couplets with a solid meter, Schroeder describes a world that comes alive by night, as bats dressed to the hilt in Victorian finery meander through cobblestone streets under gaslight: “With the nod of his head and a wink of his eye,/ The gentleman bat would greet passersby.” Parda’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations are painted in quiet grays, warmed by the glow of lanterns and storefronts. He lavishes attention on the bats’ suits, gowns, and accessories, and tucks visual jokes into some of the scenes (a quintet performing in a bandstand plays their music upside down, naturally). The plot itself is quite subdued—the gentleman bat meets a lady friend on the street, they share a dance, fend off a sudden storm, and kiss. It isn’t a story to set hearts racing (other than those of the two bat lovers), but it’s an enchanting world to spend time in. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/18/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
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