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Little Lost Bat
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Little Lost Bat

4.0 1
by Sandra Markle, Alan Marks (Illustrator)

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A baby Mexican free-tailed bat clings to the ceiling of a crowded noisy cave, waiting for his mother to return from her daily hunting trip. After three days of searching and waiting, he is rescued by a bat that is in a strangely similar circumstance. A surprising story of adoption in the animal kingdom based on current research.


A baby Mexican free-tailed bat clings to the ceiling of a crowded noisy cave, waiting for his mother to return from her daily hunting trip. After three days of searching and waiting, he is rescued by a bat that is in a strangely similar circumstance. A surprising story of adoption in the animal kingdom based on current research.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Markle (the Outside and Inside series) turns her attention to the Mexican free-tailed bat set in central Texas's Bracken Cave, a nursery cave home only to female bats and their babies. "Even though the rock cave is as huge/ as a cathedral, it's steamy hot/ from the body heat of/ millions of female bats." The descriptive narrative immerses readers in this intimate setting, as it describes one bat's birth and early days. Markle sugarcoats nothing, least of all the predator-prey relationships. A lurking snake "snags a baby bat for dinner." The mother of the title bat traps and eats a moth, only to become a barn owl's supper a week later. Readers might be surprised at this turn of events, given previous snuggly nursing scenes. ("For three days and nights, he searches/ and cries for her to find him.") Marks, who collaborated with Markle on A Mother's Journey, provides realistic, elegant watercolor-and-ink paintings; their dusky blues and purples mirror some of the nocturnal subject's mystery. Many scenes glow with an almost translucent effect from the moon. Audiences will be somewhat comforted when a mother that has lost her own baby adopts the orphaned bat. Author notes, resources and additional bat facts wrap up this informative, moving nature exploration. Ages 6-9. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a delightfully warm and gentle story that weaves facts about bat biology into a simple story of a baby bat that loses its mother to a predator but is adopted by another mother bat. The author's note assures us that scientists are investigating what appears to be the possibility that some Mexican free-tailed bats are raised by bats that are not their genetic mothers. Illustrated in soft, flowing watercolors that depict such details as the mother bat folding up her tail membrane to keep the newborn "from falling down, down, down to the waiting, hungry beetles on the cave floor," young readers learn how the mother bat identifies her baby by its sound and smell and also how the mother needs to eat nearly her weight in insects every night so she can nurse her infant. It is during one of those nighttime forays that the mother bat is snatched out of the air by an owl. It is certainly a sad, albeit natural, occurrence between predator and prey, but the illustrations are not gruesome or scary. After a few frightening moments, the motherless baby and a childless mother are wrapped around each other. This would be an excellent read-aloud either for families ready to discuss birth and death among animals or classes learning about mammals, habitats, and animal ecology. 2006, Charlesbridge, Ages 4 to 8.
—Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-A little bat is born in a cave with millions of other female bats and their young. The fight for survival is apparent from his first moments of life-predators threaten the powerless infant from all sides. Drama ensues over a week later when his mother dies at the claws of a barn owl, and the baby goes hungry for several days. However, he is ultimately saved by a mother bat who has lost her baby and is searching for a new mouth to feed. Markle incorporates many facts about the Mexican free-tailed bats in a natural manner. These facts enhance the story, but don't get in the way of the compelling plot. Listeners will learn quite a bit about bats and their first days. Marks's illustrations bring out the rich colors of the night and give a sense of the immensity of the world as compared to the tiny baby bat. A compelling way to learn about these fascinating creatures.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Markle successfully presents the astonishing world of Bracken Cave, the largest nursing colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. As they follow the activities of one mother and her newborn, youngsters (and adults) will effortlessly absorb the facts woven throughout: habitat, eating habits, echolocation, communication, predators, social network and childrearing. At the end of the baby's first week, his survival is in the balance when his mother fails to return. But another mother who has lost her own baby steps in to care for him. Marks's watercolor artwork is amazingly detailed-close-ups of the animals are lifelike, while wider-angle views give a realistic impression of the huge numbers of bats in the cave. Backmatter includes a list of resources, a bulleted list of brief facts and an author's note explaining that research on the raising of Mexican free-tailed bats is ongoing, and new findings could refute what is presented here as fact. Nonetheless, this is a must for every nonfiction collection and bat fan. (Nonfiction. 5-9)

Product Details

Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
AD880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Sandra Markle has written over seventy nonfiction books for young readers, including her Growing Up Wild and Outside and Inside series. Her books have won awards from the Boston Globe/Horn Book, NSTA/CBC, ABA, and ALA. She lives in Florida.

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Little Lost Bat 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
While bats are not usually thought of as endearing creatures, they are as painted in watercolors by artist Alan Marks. A winner of the Carnegie Medal he does not resort to anthropomorphism but rather depicts the bats realistically with their wings a luminous violet hue and their claws sharply on the ready. His full-page illustrations will be enjoyed over and over again. Sandra Markle has created a touching story of a tiny Mexican free-tailed bat who is born in Bracken Cave in central Texas. He is as small 'as a peanut in its shell,' and the minute he is born at the roof of the cave his mother folds up her tail membrane to keep him from falling to the hungry beetles on the cave floor. This particular mother bat does not have a partner to help her so she must leave the cave to hunt for food for herself and her baby. She returns to the cave often to let her baby nurse and within a week he is beginning to grow fur. However, one night when she is out hunting she is caught by a barn owl. How a week old bat survives without his mother is at the center of this sad and hopeful story. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke