Review Blog

Feb 04 2019

Bat vs poss by Alexa Moses

cover image

Ill. by Anil Tortop. Lothian Children's Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780734418395.
(Age: 4+) Themes: Australian animals, Possums, Bats, Competition, Humour, Problem solving. In rhyming verse, Moses tells young children the story of a possum, Meek, her siblings and friends, all living an idyllic life in a large sprawling paperbark tree. But a hiccup comes along in the form of a bat. Not just any bat, but a cantankerous, noisy and squabbly bat who hangs upside down from the tree's top limb.
The bat spits, poos and tells the others crossly that they must move. Meek and her sisters move to the lower branches where they cannot sleep, because they are watchful away from the safety of the higher branches. In the morning some of the birds ask Meek to do something about the bat, and she comes up with a clever idea of how to move him on.
Richly illustrated with Australian flora and fauna, readers will delight picking out the details of the animals they spy in the branches, picking up some facts about their habits. I love the use of the wheelie bins, seen in such abundance in Australian cities and towns, and the lights of the big city, and the terrace houses near the beautiful paperbark tree.
The story of the bat reminds readers of the problem many of them are now causing in big cities where colonies move in and take over large areas of native trees. Recently in Adelaide a colony moved into the Moreton Bay Fig trees in the Botanic Gardens and caused considerable damage.
The urban sprawl imposing upon animals' habitats is a clear theme which children can think about and discuss after reading this book.
Fran Knight

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