Bats in Trouble

illus. by Kasia Charko. 96p. Orca. Oct. 2017. pap. $6.95. ISBN 9781459814035.
Gr 3–5—Young Cricket McKay happily spends summers with her grandparents on their Canadian farm. She loves exploring the rolling countryside and its variety of creatures. One day, several dead bats mysteriously appear near the large wind turbines placed on the land. Chiroptera are rare in their part of the world, and Cricket wants to solve the mystery of their fateful appearance. Her friend Shiloh thinks bats are creepy, and her older brother, Tyler, is simply unaware. As Cricket discovers the importance of these flying mammals and how to safeguard them, her family and friends come together. Cricket and her crew plan to spread their bat-saving message during an upcoming town celebration. Can Cricket persuade her community to join her cause? This contemporary story is engaging and stuffed with scientific facts. Readers learn about the many species of bats, their habitats, and migrations. There is also information on wind turbines, and the equilibrium between nature and technology is explored in a relatable way. The writing is direct, and the plot is straightforward. The black-and-white pencil drawings are detailed and add appeal. This installment in the series is set apart by its depiction of young characters learning how to effect positive change through activism.
VERDICT A positive, inspiring, and fact-filled addition to an excellent chapter book series.

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