Friday, March 1, 2019

Cats and Bats are where it's at

themes: animals, nonfiction

The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat
by Laurence Pringle; illus. by Kate Garchinsky
32 pages; ages 6-9
Boyds Mills Press, 2018

The sun has set. A July sky dims, then grows darker.

For most of us, that means time to sleep. But for Otis and his family it is time to WAKE UP! There's so much to do before they fly into the night. The book takes us into the family life of little brown bats, how parents know their pups, and first flight.

What I like about this book: It's such a personal look into the lives of little brown bats. I love the nearly step-by-step instructions Laurence Pringle gives us on how to hunt using echolocation - not that I'll ever use it (unless I'm hunting moths maybe). If the bat's name, Otis, seems familiar that's because it comes from the genus name Myotis, which means mouse-eared. The illustrations are perfect - with a soft feel that you almost want to snuggle up to.

Just Like Us! Cats
by Bridget Heos; illus. by David Clark
32 pages; ages 4-7
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

Cats have retractable claws, razor-sharp teeth, and tails for balancing. Humans don't. But in some ways, cats and people are alike.

For example, cats sometimes fight other cats. Other times, cats act in diplomatic ways to reduce the chance of fighting. Cat moms don't just take care of their kittens, they homeschool them. First lesson: what to eat and how to catch it. Some cats are swimmers. Others, like the lynx, play in the snow.

What I like about this book: It's fun. The mix of photos and cartoonish elements make it a fun read, because there's always one more thing to look for. Cats have been living with humans for nearly 10,000 years, so it's time we understood them.

Beyond the books:

Learn more about little brown bats over at BioKIDS.

Could you hunt using sound waves? Gather some friends and play a game of Echo! Location! Choose one person to be the bat, and blindfold them. Everyone else stands in a circle around the bat. Have one person be the moth. When the Bat calls out "echo", the moth replies "location". As the bat continues to say echo, it moves toward the location of the prey. More bat science activities here.

Do some cat science. Test your cat, or a friend's cat, to see if it is right- or left-pawed. Here's how.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website . Review copies provided by the publishers.


  1. So all the times we play Marco Polo in the pool, we're practicing our bat skills! Thanks for sharing these two. (no cats to practice on . . . )

  2. Again, I haven't seen your second book - Just Like Us! Cats. It's on my TBR list! (Which keeps getting longer!)

  3. Both books are very intriguing reads. I would enjoy reading them, myself. Not a fan of bats, but have had some run-ins. The cat book also looks like a lot of fun information for cat lovers.