Tag Archives: Children’s Books

Book Review: A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

Today, I was browsing Bookshare’s children’s book category. It used to be hard for me to browse books by category on the Bookshare website, because somehow my Internet browser would crash each time I tried. Today though, I succeeded. At first, books were automatically sorted by title and I didn’t know how to change the sort order. Eventually, I figured this out and sorted books by copyright date, because I like to read books that are relatively new. I found A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold on the first page, because the book was published in 2017 and the book title starts with a B according to Bookshare. Looking back, I must’ve come across this book a few times before when searching for the keyword “autism”. However, for whatever reason, I never decided to download, let alone read it. Now I did.

Synopsis

From acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso, A Boy Called Bat is the first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Review

I adored Bat from almost the very beginning. He sounds a bit spoiled at first, but in a very relatable kind of way for me as an autistic person. For example, in the first chapter, Bat berates his sister Janie for having eaten the last vanilla yogurt, because it’s all he likes. I can tell though that Bat is really kind-hearted. Janie on the other hand sounds like a bossy big sister. I could see some things in her that reminded me of my own sister when we were growing up. Though she is my younger sister, she also had some “big sister complex” due to interacting with me. In the end though, I got to like Janie too. In fact, there are no mean characters in this book. The only negative about the characters I found is that all except for Bat are pretty flat. You get to see Bat’s perspecitve only.

I liked the way the story progresses. I must say here that I hadn’t read the summary before downloading the book so only knew the book is about a little boy with autism. Normally, I badly want to know what a book is about, but this time, I liked not knowing. The book follows a pretty predictable story line, but still there are some cool surprises in it too. It truly is a heartfelt little read. I liked the fact that the chapters are short, so even though there are 26 chapters, I, a slow reader, could finish the book within an afternoon.

As for the portrayal of Bat as an autistic character, some things are no doubt stereotypical. In this light, it’s a positive that we get to follow Bat’s perspective only. There is absolutely no judgment of Bat’s oddness except sometimes from Janie. Then again, Bat thinks Janie is weird too. Don’t all siblings? I definitely related to many of Bat’s idiosyncrasies.

This is not an inspirational read or even much of an informaitonal book about autism. In fact, I did not see the word “autism” in the book. This is mostly just a book about a boy who cares a lot about animals and wants to keep the baby skunk his mother found, because they bond so well. Of course, it’s a stereotype that autistic people are tuned into animals. However, I didn’t get the idea from this book that it was the author’s intention to perpetuate this stereotype. Don”t most kids love animals, after all?

Rating: five stars.

Book Details

Title: A Boy Called Bat
Author: Elana K. Arnold
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Publication Date: March 2017

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Book Review: Wosie the Blind Little Bunny by Rose King

Wosie the little bunny wanders away from the blueberry bush. Because she is blind, she cannot find her way back. She finds a stick to tap and feel her way around. At one point, she touches something soft with her stick, which turns out to be Bobo the bear, who’s sleeping. After Wosie explains that she is blind and what that means, Bobo agrees to bring her to the blueberry bush, and they end up being friends from that point on.

Wosie the Blind Little Bunny is suitable for ages three and up. It is written in a beautifully poetic way. I ended up smiling at the rhyming several times. While Wosie is not the most independent blind bunny, and therefore some self-proclaimed competent blind adults might find this story offensive, you have to remember that Wosie is a little bunny. The story does explain the fct that blind bunnies can hear and feel fine. Overall, I liked the story and found ii very suitable for toddlers. It emphasizes the importance of friendship over differences.

Book Details

Title: Wosie the Blind Little Bunny
Author: Rose King
Publisher: Xlibris
Publication date: January 2013

Book Review: Peter’s Asparagus by Angela Nicole Krause

When looking at Kobo for children’s books that I might like to read and review, I stumbled across Peter’s Asparagus by Angela Nicole Krause. This little book is the first in a series of short stories which are easy to read, sensitive and entertaining. Peter’s Asparagus is about a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. Peter has a hard time making friends and he doesn’t like changes. He is however really good at math, spelling and science. The story explains Asperger’s quite well for a children’s book. I got to really feel for Peter as he was getting upset because the other children in his class laughed at him, thinking he’d said that he had asparagus. In the end, Peter can even laugh at the misunderstanding himself.

This story is really good for class or family discussion on children’s differences and disabilities. As I said, it makes the reader quite aware of what Asperger’s Syndrome is. The story also teaches about the value of friendship and about the fact that children are good and not so good at different things and that it can be good to help each other. Besdies being a good book for teaching every child about accepting differences, this book is great for children with autism or Asperger’s to feel that they are not alone.

Book Details

Title: Peter’s Asparagus
Author: Angela Nicole Krause
Publisher: York Publishing Services, Ltd.
Publication date: January 2014