Review: A Boy Called Bat

The front cover of the book has a boy with black hair wearing a red t-shirt and black trousers against a turquoise background. He is holding a skunk kit (baby) in his hands and their noses are pressed together.

A wonderfully illustrated children’s book about a boy (called Bat) and the skunk kit that his mum saves that he starts to take care of.

A Boy Called Bat follows Bixby Alexander Tam, known to everyone as Bat. One day his veterinarian mum brings home a skunk kit which she saved. Bat takes a strong liking to the kit and the story follows the impact it has on his day-to-day life.

The illustrations throughout the book are brilliant and help to develop the personality of characters. Bat is a likeable character and the way he bonds with his skunk kit, named Thor by his sister, is cute. The way Thor impacts on his life comes across as quite realistic, even within the world of a children’s story, for example he ends the book with the startings of a friendship because of a boy in his class being interested in Thor. Bat’s descriptions of sensory processing and his feelings are relateable, even down to the language he uses to describe how certain things make him feel and react.

The adults in Bat’s life tend towards understanding his needs and acknowledging his strengths as well as supporting him with one glaring area falling short – his mother is written as placing a lot of value on Bat making eye contact and there are scenes in the book which are all around the topic of the value of looking into people’s eyes. This is probably the only big downfall of this book which, overall leans towards an acceptance and understanding of Bat and his difference rather than forcing Bat to change.

The book ends quite abruptly but there are two more in the series so they may follow on closely from the end of this one. I think if the other two are similar to this one, the trilogy would probably be well placed in a number of classrooms.

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