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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Bat and the Waiting Game, by Elana K. Arnold. With pictures by Charles Santoso. Walden Pond Press, Harper. 2018. $21.00 ages 8 and up

"Tom put the car in park and turned it off. "Here we are," he said, which normally would have prompted Bat to say something about how that was the kind of statement that really didn't mean anything, because it's always true - you could always say "Here we are," no matter where you were, and you'd be right. But Bat didn't point that out, this time. "Thank you for driving us," ... "

It has only been a short time since I introduced those who read this blog to Bat. We learned that he is an autistic school student, whose parents are divorced, whose sister is older and works hard to understand and appreciate him, whose friend Israel is a true friend indeed. Oh, and Bat loves skunks, knows a lot about them and is learning more every day as he is caring for skunk kit his veterinarian mother has rescued.

Thor, the skunk, is growing and becoming the skunk he is meant to be. That means, he is developing an ability to protect himself. As Bat continues navigating a new friendship, accepting his father's wishes for him to try to appreciate some of the things that his father likes to do, accepting his sister's more complicated schedule since she got a role in the school musical and the changes that means for Bat himself, he also needs to be aware of Thor's growing needs.

His mom, his teacher and Israel remain helpful when Bat feels his control slipping. We know he handles things differently, but that is not the focus of Bat's story. Every family faces its own set of challenges, and Bat's does the same. Bat remains concerned about the skunk and his upcoming release, as he wants Thor to be prepared for life in the wild. Because he doesn't want him to be alone, Bat tucks Thor into his shirt and takes him to Janie's play. Wrong decision ... oh, so wrong!

Fans will be anxious to read this next chapter for Bat and Thor, and happy to know that another is in the works!

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