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Monday, May 21, 2018

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night, by Rob Laidlaw. Pajama Press, 2018. $22.95 ages 9 and up

"Sometimes bats enter buildings through tiny holes or gaps that lead into attics, basements, or spaces between walls. People often want them removed, but if pups are present, the bats should be left alone until the pups have weaned and both females and pups have left for the season." 

Young readers love knowing as much as they can about bats. Rob Laidlaw writes terrific nonfiction on topics that kids love to read. It's a win-win situation. No one will be disappointed when sharing this new book.

Rob's writing style is conversational, and personal. He provides clear information, based on up-to-date study and creates a book that is perfect fare for his target audience.
He begins with a useful table of contents, one of the features I like to see to help kids find what interests them most. There are five main sections: It's A Bat World, Unbelievable Bat Biology, Bats for a Healthy World, Bat Challenges and Solutions, and finally Being a Friend to Bats.

The introduction is concise, offering a quick look at what we can expect from the book. A number of topics are covered in each section. These are far-ranging, and accompanied by numerous photographs, "Bat Facts" and "Batty Ideas" boxes to add appeal and enhance learning. "Bat Citizens" are frequently introduced with text explaining what each does to improve conditions for the animals they love.

In an entry called Safe Havens for Bats, a 'batty idea' box asks "Which Roost?" And we learn:

"Maternity roosts are where female bats gather to bear their young.
Their combined body heat may help to create a warm environment
for the helpless pups.
Hibernacula are winter hibernation roosts. During
winter, bats need stable, cool temperatures that do
not change very much, and moist air that helps reduce
the loss of body fluids."

On the facing page we learn about Dara McAnulty, a 13-year-old Irish conservationist "who does whatever he can to help bats and other wild animals. Dara blogs about bats, his own wildlife sightings and research, and his thoughts about wildlife conservation. He constructs bat boxes for local gardens, schools, and other organizations. He also goes out with a local group to do bat detecting, and he contributes his findings to a database that helps scientists studying bats."

Pretty admirable stuff!  And he's not the only one. I counted 11 entries for Bat Citizens. Worthy work they are doing for bats, for scientists, and for our planet. Kids will enjoy reading about their work, and thinking about what they might do to make the world a better place.

The information provided throughout is easy to follow, answers most common questions and leaves readers with a good amount of knowledge concerning these oft-maligned creatures. The final section provides ideas for being a friend to bats. Making sure that buildings are safe for bats to make their homes there, bat mapping, understanding how important bats are to a healthy world, raising money to help fund bat research, and celebrating their place in the world. A list of 14 Ways You Can Help Bats, and a list of the many organizations that help bats around the world are presented. A glossary and index follow.

 Impressive and well-researched, as are other books by Rob Laidlaw, there is much to like about this fine book.

“I hope this book changes the way you think about bats and inspires you to get active helping them.”

                                                                                                          (-Rob Laidlaw in his introduction)

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