Friday, March 23, 2018

Bat and the Waiting Game

Arnold, Elana K. Bat and the Waiting Game
March 27th 2018 by Walden Pond Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

In this sequel to A Boy Called Bat, Bat is concerned that Thor is growing up all too quickly. He enjoys carry the baby skunk around in a sling and feeding him bottles, and while he is trying to be a good skunk nurturer and make sure that Thor gets appropriate exercise and food, it makes him a little sad, too. When Bat's sister Janie gets a part in the school play, Bat has to spend time after school at his friend Israel's house after school. While Bat is getting better at being a good friend, Israel's parents are very fascinating, with their big truck and pottery studio, so sometimes Israel feels a bit left out. As Thor gets bigger and more independent, Bat struggles to deal with the needs of his growing pet and his own desire to be with the tiny skunk.
Strengths: This is just the perfect length, has occasional pictures, and has a perfect tone-- supportive, hopeful, and still acknowledging the difficulties of life. Bat's experience with autism falls right in the middle of what I've seen in the students in the autism unit at my school-- some students have more challenges, and some have fewer. The people in his life are portrayed as working with him in a productive manner, and I especially like how Israel will occasionally call him on how he acts. The information about the skunk is good as well.
Weaknesses: The big, culminating event in the book seemed a tad forced, even if it was very funny!
What I really think: I think I might have loaned the copy of the first book to a teacher and might not have gotten it back, so I don't know how it would do with my students. I suspect that my 6th graders would find this to be a helpful but also amusing. This would be a definite purchase for an elementary school. Since my readers are reading younger books this year, and my school has an ASD unit, I will purchase both books.

35604697Charman, Katrina. The Titanic (Survival Tails #1)
March 20th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by publisher (

Mutt lives a hardscrabble life near Southhampton, England in 1912. His girl, Alice, has lost her mother, and her father has decided to immigrate to the New World. The two are going to travel in steerage on the fancy new boat, the Titanic, so Mutt is not going to come along. Hearing all of these plans gives Mutt an idea, so he manages to get to the boat and tries to board. With the help of a rat, he  manages to get on board and stays in the mail room for a while, being taken care of by some of the workers. He is bound and determined to find his girl, and comes across several other animals in the meantime. There are the rats, but also the Captain's cat as well as kittens for whom she is caring. There are lots of adventures to be had on board, but when the ship hits the iceberg, things go bad quickly. Mutt manages to find Alice, but ends up on deck with her father. Should he risk everything to jump into the icy water to be with his girl?
Strengths: This is billed as a book for fans of Messner's Ranger in Time as well as Tarshis' survival books; it's not a time travel book, but a survival book from the point of view of the animals. The details about the ship therefore concentrate more on what animals below deck would experience. Mutt certainly understands a lot more than most dogs would, so is a bit anthropomorphized. I have a lot of struggling readers who LOVE books with dogs as the main characters (think Klimo's Dog Diaries), so this will be perfect for them. No word on what the second book might be yet. The notes at the end of the book about historical topics and also animals facts are very helpful.
Weaknesses: I wish that historical fiction would cover a few different topics. While Charman mentions that even after 106 years, books are still being written about the Titanic, I certainly have enough of them in my library. I'd like to see something else about Krakatoa (After the Ashes was a bit long) , and a fictional account of The Halifax Explosion of 1917. Even more books with dogs accompanying explorers or pioneers would be good, Like Leo, Dog of the Sea.
What I really think: Interested to see what the rest of the books might cover! Ooh, maybe some elephants in Asia!
Ms. Yingling

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