Sunday, April 22, 2012

NonFiction Monday: A Place for Bats (by Melissa Stewart)

Non-Fiction Monday is here! It is my first time hosting, and I am thrilled!   Please join in using the self link-up below. 

I have read several picture books about bats because they are such fascinating creatures.  My first encounter with one scared me to death!  I was 11 years old when one flew into my room late at night.  I had no idea what it was at first.  Eventually, it knocked itself out by running into the closet wall.  My dad picked it up and let it go out the window.  Even though they might startle you, I realized bats are harmless.  A few years ago we used to swim sometimes at night.  The bats would sweep down close to us to snatch the insects attracted to the light and water.  It was a wonderful site to see!  I had no fear at all.  Fortunately, my children did not either.  Bats play a vital role in our world.  We need to protect them. 

A Place for Bats takes a different approach than most non-fiction picture books do on this topic. Author Melissa Stewart reveals interesting information about these flying mammals through her narrative, but the focus is on how humans can help make the world a safer place for them. 

This book could actually be read a couple different ways, depending on the audience.  The top margin offers a straight-forward description while the semi-circle bubbles on the sides go into more detail about the topic on the page and relate it to a particular species of bats that has been impacted.  For younger audiences, teachers could read the top margin and, perhaps, summarize the more detailed information.  Older children will enjoy the well-written specific stories about the various types of bats and the environmental impacts. 

Stewart offers many excellent and practical suggestions for how humans can live more harmoniously with the bats, such as turning off wind turbines on calm nights, not using harmful insecticides, putting up gates at the mouths of cave and mines, and protecting their natural habitats.  Many suggestions are simple things we can do in our backyards like building bat boxes, keeping cats indoors, leaving drooping fronds on trees, not removing dead trees, and planting flowers that attract the moths bats eat.

There are some fascinating facts about bats.  For instance, I did not realize they caught insects with their feet.  For some reason, I always thought they caught them with their mouths.  LOL  Also, plants need bats.  They play a vital role in pollination and the spreading of plant seeds.  One of the most important facts:  Despite commonly held myths, bats do not hurt people.  Instead, they are essential for keeping the insect population down.  

Higgins Bond’s illustrations look like photograph snapshots with their vivid details and brilliant colors.  Bats are depicted in their caves and other natural habitats as well as in backyards and neighborhoods.  Each stunning picture encompasses a two-page spread.  I recommend A Place for Bat for ages 7 and up.   The book is an amazing combination of beautiful pictures and vital information.  


13 comments:

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for hosting and for putting this up early. I did a sort of late Earth Day-inspired review of Rachel Carson by Marie-Therese Miller at http://blog.wrappedinfoil.com/2012/04/rachel-carson/

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  2. Thanks for hosting and sharing A Place for Bats.

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  3. Thanks for hosting today, and sharing "A Place for Bats". I love Melissa Stewart's books - and this one is sitting on top of my "to read" pile.

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  4. Congratulations on your first hosting. A Place for Bats sound interesting too.

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  5. Melissa Stewart is an all-time favorite here. I just read "Under the Snow." She actually recommended my pick, "Swirl by Swirl."

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  6. Hi! So glad to see you as the host today - bravo on your first hosting! Welcome! I too remember the first time I saw bats flying above me, and not knowing what they were. Another new picture book about bats (with lots of information at the back of the book) is "Home in the Cave" illustrated by Shennen Bersani (who also illustrated my book about Astro the Steller sea lion).
    Thanks for hosting!

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  7. Thanks everyone for adding to this post with your experience with bats and Melissa Stewart's book. @Jeanne, thanks for that book suggestion. I have already highlighted it :) I love Sylvan Dell books.

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  8. Hi! Thank you for your wonderful effort for putting this up altogether and for hosting today's Nonfiction Monday! I rarely see bats, but I remember seeing one swoop down my windshield while I was driving to work. It made my heart race because I felt like in one of those suspense movies. Then I realized it was only a bat flying through the night. This book seems like it has a nice approach in helping people understand and appreciate bats more and not be afraid of them. It's always comforting to know that writers are able to promote environmental awareness through their works. :)

    PS. I am secretly fascinated with bats because of Batman. Haha! :)

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  9. Thanks for hosting! My suggestion this week is
    WE ARE ONE: THE STORY OF BAYARD RUSTIN by Larry Dane Brimmer. http://theswimmerwriter.blogspot.com/2012/04/bayard-rustin.html

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  10. Thanks for hosting!

    I don't have a huge appreciation for bats. It was drilled into my head as a child that bats carry disease. Primarily, rabies. I should pick up this book just so I can feel better about these little winged creatures.

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  11. @Ali I found an article I think you will find helpful. :) Here is an excerpt: "Like many small mammals found in our area, bats do carry rabies. But here again, they have a bad reputation, out of proportion to the problem. A small percentage of bats, less than one half of one percent, contract the disease. Since 1990, only 48 U.S. residents have contracted rabies from bats, compared to 1,544 who contracted malaria, or 15,989 who contracted tuberculosis. Most cases of rabies resulted from human handling; bats tend to avoid people and bite only in self-defense." http://bit.ly/I4sNKr

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  12. @ Fats Suela, I LOVE Batman too :) Thanks for sharing your story.

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  13. Going to find this book. My 1st grader is a bat lover, just finished a project on bats for school. I am now an AVID fan of bats myself. They are amazing mammals and so beneficial to our earth.

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