Book Review: A Boy Called Bat by Elana Arnold

Boy Called BatBy Awnali Mills

Bat is a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, and his superpower is that he loves everything to do with animals.  It helps that his mother is a veterinarian.  When she brings home a newborn skunk that needs tending before being given to a rescue organization, Bat is determined to care for him.  But Bat has an even better plan.  He thinks that this new skunk would make an excellent pet.  He just needs to figure out how to get his mom to agree.

Much like Reign Rain by Ann Martin, A Boy Called Bat takes us inside the mind of a child with Asperger’s.  Bat is straight forward and direct, which gets him in all kinds of trouble with his family and classmates.  He also has very different ideas of what a compliment is, or what a favor is.  For instance, he puts his sister’s favorite pajama top in with the newborn skunk to get the skunk accustomed to her scent.  To Bat, this is the very best thing he could do for his sister.  His sister does not agree in the least.

There are several funny moments as Bat gets crosswise of the world, but they aren’t laugh-out-loud funny; more like tenderly funny.  I think that kids will appreciate how tenderly Bat cares for his skunk, and appreciate how desperately he wants to change his mother’s mind.  This book will also help kids become more aware of the fact that not everyone thinks like them, and kids with Asperger’s who read it may find a kindred spirit.  Recommended for grades 3-5.

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