A Boy Called Bat
Author: Elana K. Arnold
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
GoodReads Summary: 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.
What I Think: I love Bat. I love Bat and his mom and his sister and his little pet baby skunk. And I love this story. Elana K. Arnold does a wonderful job of bringing them all to life. Bat is unique as any little kid and we get to see and understand him in this book. Bat really loves the baby skunk that his mom brings home and he spends the book working to take care of him and show his mom that he can be a good caretaker of a skunk. He also learns a bit about what it means to be a friend along the way too.
As a mentor text, I grabbed a piece of text that talks a bit about Bat's room and his house. But if you look at it closely, you'll actually see that this part seems to be about Bat's room and this system they have at their house when it's really about Bat. As readers, students can infer that Bat likes things a certain way, that he likes his room, and that his family has a specific system just for him. They can make connections between themselves and Bat. As writers, they can think about how Elana takes time to explain Bat's room but she's giving super specific information that adds to the story. This is something I've learned over time as a writer but it's still not easy to do. Writers spend a lot of time thinking about show don't tell but we have to be careful to use description that is purposeful and moves a story forward.
Snatch of Text:
"After finishing his snack, Bat went to his room. Bat's room was his favorite place in the whole world. In his room, Bat felt completely comfortable. Here, he knew where everything was. If something was in the wrong place, it was his own fault, because no one messed with his room but him.
In the rest of their small house, Bat's mom and sister knew to put anything that needed to go to Bat's room in one of three baskets: his clean laundry basket, his book basket, and his miscellaneous stuff basket.
'Miscellaneous' was a great word, and one of Bat's favorites. It meant all the extra stuff, so the miscellaneous stuff basket could have almost anything (except clean laundry and books) in it." (p. 6-7)
Writing Prompt: Write about you or your main character's room. Think about how giving the reader a glimpse into your or your main character's room might show them who you/your main character is while still moving your story along.