Written and Illustrated by Brian Lies
Houghton Mifflin, 2008
Another inky evening’s here –
the air is cool and calm and clear.
Did You Know? The smallest bat in the world is the bumblebee bat, which is smaller than your thumbnail and weighs less than a penny.
As bats are flying around one night, they hear the news that a window has been left open at the library and they all excitedly fly there to go inside. Being able to get into the library is a rare occurrence and it’s something they all love. Some look at pictures of food in books while others have a sort of impromptu book club to discuss their favorites. Other groups use the overhead projector to make shadows on the wall, play with the copier and splash in the water fountain. They all gather together for story time and gradually, the real world drifts away and they find themselves immersed in the stories they’re hearing. Night turns to day and they return home, already looking forward to their next night at the library.
Author/illustrator Brian Lies first wrote about these bats in Bats at the Beach (2006) and has published an additional two books (so far) about them since. This was the first one I read (most likely due to my status as a library fangirl) and I really loved it. The basic premise is simple and good fun, but the book really becomes something special when the bats have story time. The acrylic paintings throughout the book are just wonderful, but on these pages, we get to see these bats taking on the roles of some of literature’s most beloved characters. The bats become the Cheshire Cat, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit and many others. I just kept flipping the pages back and forth to look at these pictures over and over again. The overall color palette is very dark, but we’re dealing with nocturnal animals in a darkened setting, so it works. The richness of detail provides the reader with lots of eye candy and even more reasons to appreciate the magic of a good story.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that a library is so much more than a building full of books.