As befits the story of an adventurous bat, Scaredy Bat turns popular convention on its head. Day is dawning in the Dark, Dark Wood which is becoming less dark minute by minute. All good bats are tucked up after their busy night but Little Bat can’t sleep. Middle Bat and Big Bat tease their small friend about being scared of the light and Little Bat decides to prove them wrong (even though they’re right really). Off Little Bat swoops into the day and starts to have a wonderful time but as the day wears on, becoming ever-brighter, Little Bat senses that he is not alone. Could the Bogey-Bat be following him?
Well, no actually. The Bogey-Bat wasn’t following him. It was just his shadow. So Little Bat swoops and swishes again, nonchalantly pretending that he always knew that. Meanwhile, back at the ranch – well, the hollow of the old oak tree – Middle Bat and Big Bat are worried about Little Bat. He’s been gone so long that they think one of them (the other one of them) should go and look for him. But it turns out that they are the scaredy bats.
Scaredy Bat is a beautifully written story by Jonathan Meres, surprisingly lyrical in parts. Surprising, because that lyricism is juxtaposed with the laugh-out-loud humour for which Jonathan is well known. The flowing language mirrors Little Bat’s effortless swooping and swishing and carries the reader along pausing every so often to chuckle. And the illustrations are wonderful. Anders Frang uses a fairly limited palette with which he evokes the ever-lightening Dark, Dark Wood. And I love Little Bat with his range of facial expressions. Anders also extends the story by introducing other woodland animals into his illustrations
Little Door Books may not produce publish many books each year but it pays to pay attention to those they do. Scaredy Bat is a captivating story with the positive message that even the littlest of little creatures can be brave, and that bravery might open them to wonderful new experiences. There’s no need to be scared of the Bogey-Bat or one’s own shadow!