HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Bats: Bat Magic for Kids
Author: Kathryn T. Lundberg
Illustrators: Merlin D. Tuttle and John F. McGee
Publisher: Gareth Stevens Pub., 1996
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8-10 Years
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Lundberg, Kathryn T. Bats: Bat Magic for Kids (published in 1996 by Gareth Stevens Pub.). Most people know that bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Many may not know that bats represent about twenty percent of all classified mammal species worldwide, with about 1,240 bat species divided into two suborders, the less specialized and largely fruit-eating megabats, and the more highly specialized and echolocating microbats. Did you know that about seventy percent of bats are insectivores, most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters, and a few species, such as the fish-eating bat, feed from animals other than insects, while the vampire bat is the only parasitic mammalian species? A lot of folks think of bats as nasty little creatures to be avoided, but in fact they perform vital ecological roles in pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds, as well as eating insect pests and thus reducing the need for pesticides.
This book in the series “Animal Magic for Kids” provides a comprehensive look at bats for young readers. Along with colorful pictures and a story format, it describes bats’ habitats, eating styles, and life cycles, relating information about the life, habits, and natural history of bats. When our boys were learning how to read, we often checked books like this one out of the local library which would give them extra practice and also supplement their other studies, in this case, science. Over the years, we have attended various bat-related programs at nature centers, state parks, and other sites like caverns. While we would not necessarily want bats in our house, we do recognize the important functions which they perform in nature and have talked about putting a bat-house in our backyard to help keep the mosquito population down in the summer time.