Bat vs Poss
Lothian Children’s, 2019
32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99
Meek lives with her three sisters, a gaggle of birds, lizards and other creatures next to a tumbledown terrace house. Everyone shares the space, and life is pretty sweet until the day a rude and messy fruit bat named Squabbles moves in – and demands everyone else move OUT. And the creatures are thinking that’s what they will have to do when, at a meeting of all the residents, Meek has a plan. It means putting her brave on and all the others working together but if it works, it will give them their peaceful home back.
Written in rhyme and charmingly illustrated by Anil Tortop in a palette that reflects the nocturnal life of the story’s characters, this is a story that may be familiar to readers who have had their lives disrupted by a bully who hasn’t learned how to behave well yet. But it is also a story of redemption, showing that sometimes being given a second chance is needed if bad behaviour is to change rather than just continue in a different setting.
This is the perfect story to share at the beginning of a new school year when some children may be afraid of moving into their new class because of the reputations of some of their new classmates. And for those who have not learned acceptable behaviour skills in the past, it is confirmation that new starts can be made as they start to understand the impact of their actions on those they really want to be friends with, if they only knew how. A great forerunner for talking about respect and responsibility and establishing class expectations and guidelines for the new year.