The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. This chapter book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 6 to 8 who are ready to read independently. It's a fun way to keep your child engaged and as a supplement for activity books for children.
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.
This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat's experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).--ALA Booklist
Gr 3-6—Bixby Alexander Tam, or Bat, has autism. He has a high need for structure; anything out of the ordinary causes him anxiety. When his mother, a vet, is late coming home from work one day, Bat is panicked. His mother explains she has a good reason, and tells him about the baby skunk she has brought home. The mother skunk did not survive a car accident, but Bat's mom was able to save the kit, and they will raise him at home for a month until he is old enough to be released to a wild animal shelter. Bat, who wants to be a vet himself someday, is fascinated by the kit, named Thor by his sister. Feeling that no one will be able to care for Thor as well as he can, Bat tries to find a way to convince his mother to keep the kit as a pet. This tender novel starts out slowly, focusing on Bat's frequent frustration. Arnold shows more than tells, crafting a nuanced character. Readers learn that Bat goes to a school that values his uniqueness and works with him on interpersonal dynamics like developing an awareness of other people's feelings, empathy, and friendship. Midway through the book, the pacing picks up. Bat's relationships with his teacher and a vet at his mother's clinic are particularly enjoyable and add humor to the novel. Santoso's illustrations, appearing about once a chapter, add warmth. Short chapters and a straightforward plot make this a good candidate for reluctant readers. VERDICT The challenges facedby kids like Bat are often underrepresented in children's literature; this is a refreshing depiction. Readers will appreciate this funny and thoughtful novel.—Juliet Morefield, Multnomah CountyLibrary, ORCopyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
When Bat's veterinarian mother brings home an infant skunk to foster for a month, Bat--a third grader on the autism spectrum--hopes to prove that he's responsible enough to keep the skunk, Thor, as a pet. Written in third person, this engaging and insightful story makes readers intimately aware of what Bat is thinking and how he perceives the events and people in his life. With empathy and humor, Arnold (Far from Fair) delves into Bat's relationships with his divorced parents, older sister, teachers, and classmates. In one tender scene, Bat braids his sister's hair: "Getting along with people was hard for Bat. Figuring out what they meant when they said something, or when they made certain faces at him... People were complicated. But braiding was easy." Bat's supportive family and school encourage his strategies for navigating a confusing world, and Santoso's b&w spot illustrations quietly speak to his isolation, as well as the way he takes to Thor. A budding friendship and open-ended questions about Thor's future will spark anticipation for the next book in this planned series. Ages 6-10. Author's agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. Illustrator's agency: Shannon Associates. (Mar.)Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.