Berk (The Secret History of Giants) presents a delicate, lyrical story about independence, trusting one's instincts and abilities, and bats. Written in passionate prose-poetry, it stars Chiro, a bat who is nervous about his first solo venture. Momma reassures him that his "good sense" will help him find his way. "Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you." It's a brilliant description of echolocation and an equally strong metaphor for the logic and perception that human children can use to cut through fear. Long's (Otis and the Tornado) soft lines convey the concept clearly; surrounded by ink-black night, Chiro's song illuminates a cone-shaped area in front of him, which reveals trees, geese, and other surprises in the dark. The only odd note is Chiro himself; Long opts for an anthropomorphized hero with huge ears, fuzzy texturing, and a quizzical look--he's more flying teddy bear than bat. Still, if his cuddly looks and Berk's insights make bats and their swooping flight less mysterious, it's all for the good. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
K-Gr 3--Not since Janell Cannon's Stellaluna (Harcourt, 1993) have readers been introduced to such a charming young bat learning to navigate his world. Night closes in and Chiro's mother tells him it's time for him to fly alone; he will succeed if he uses his song, otherwise known as his "good sense," to guide him. Though timid about being on his own, the young bat ventures into the dark unknown and, remembering his mother's words, begins to sing. His song bounces off objects, enabling him to gain confidence as he goes farther from home than he would have ever thought possible. His growing self-assurance, natural curiosity, and newly acquired skill of finding his own food embolden him. The text extends the darkness by appearing bright in the center and fading to darker near the edges, though it is still clear and easy to decipher. Acrylic and graphite illustrations reveal a dark night and a sweet, cuddly bat with a freckled nose and long pointed ears. Children in groups or one-on-one readings will enjoy hearing about this endearing character's adventure.--Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI[Page 70]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PreS-Gr 2--T. Ryder Smith brings a poet's cadence to his reading of Berk's story (S & S, 2012) about Chiro, a young bat's first solo journey into the night. It imagines his initial fear and building confidence as he discovers his song, or the echo that sings back to him, as he learns to find his way in the dark. Smith captures the young bat's questions and the mother's belief that her son can get his own breakfast this time. Voicing the question, "What is sense?," Smith captures the wonder of a child, followed by the mother's calm release when she "let him go" with an equally profound delivery. As Chiro begins to understand how his song works to show him the way, Smith's voicing becomes bolder. Have the book available so that listeners can see Loren Long's beautiful acrylic-and-graphite illustrations. The author's final note explaining the inspiration for the name Chiro is also narrated. This story works as a wonderful introduction to a unit on echolocation or a study of bats.--Janet Thompson, West Belmont Branch, Chicago Public Library, IL[Page 64]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.