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Nightsong

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Overview

A breathtaking picture book illustrated by mega-bestseller Loren Long, about a young bat setting off into the world using only his good sense!

Sense is the song you sing out into the world,
and the song the world sings back to you.
With these words, Chiro’s mother sends him off into the night for the first time alone. It’s an adventure, but how will he find his way? And how ...

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Overview

A breathtaking picture book illustrated by mega-bestseller Loren Long, about a young bat setting off into the world using only his good sense!

Sense is the song you sing out into the world,
and the song the world sings back to you.
With these words, Chiro’s mother sends him off into the night for the first time alone. It’s an adventure, but how will he find his way? And how will he find his way home? As the young bat discovers, navigating the world around him is easy as long as he uses his good sense.
This beautiful and touching coming-of-age story, with mesmerizing artwork from New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long and lyrical text from Ari Berk, conveys a heartwarming and universal message: No matter how far away you go, you can always find your way home.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
Berk's able storytelling enriches and elaborates on what might otherwise seem a tired notion.
—Pamela Paul
Publishers Weekly
Berk (The Secret History of Giants) presents a delicate, lyrical story about independence, trusting one’s instincts and abilities, and bats. Written in passionate prose-poetry, it stars Chiro, a bat who is nervous about his first solo venture. Momma reassures him that his “good sense” will help him find his way. “Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you.” It’s a brilliant description of echolocation and an equally strong metaphor for the logic and perception that human children can use to cut through fear. Long’s (Otis and the Tornado) soft lines convey the concept clearly; surrounded by ink-black night, Chiro’s song illuminates a cone-shaped area in front of him, which reveals trees, geese, and other surprises in the dark. The only odd note is Chiro himself; Long opts for an anthropomorphized hero with huge ears, fuzzy texturing, and a quizzical look—he’s more flying teddy bear than bat. Still, if his cuddly looks and Berk’s insights make bats and their swooping flight less mysterious, it’s all for the good. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
The New York Times Book Review
"There is nothing at all cute about bats, but don’t tell that to the talented Long...who has managed in the past to make even a tractor endearing.... Berk’s able storytelling enriches and elaborates...."
Shelf Talker
"Ari Berk's (The Secret History of Mermaids) lyrical text and Loren Long's acrylic-and-graphite nightscapes re-imagine the classic tale of a young one leaving its nest as a journey of not only independence but also of creativity.... This lyrical, sumptuous picture book about a small bat taking his first solo night flight will inspire confidence in any child trying something new—and independently—for the first time."
From the Publisher
* "Exquisite design coupled with evocative illustrations enrich this charming tale of a little bat taking his first solo flight and how he learns to “see” with his “good sense,” otherwise known as echolocation.... Young ones will relate to Chiro and cheer as he gains confidence with his newfound skill and will be deeply satisfied flying along on his sensory-rich journey."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
From the Publisher
* "Exquisite design coupled with evocative illustrations enrich this charming tale of a little bat taking his first solo flight and how he learns to “see” with his “good sense,” otherwise known as echolocation.... Young ones will relate to Chiro and cheer as he gains confidence with his newfound skill and will be deeply satisfied flying along on his sensory-rich journey."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
The New York Times Book Review
"There is nothing at all cute about bats, but don’t tell that to the talented Long...who has managed in the past to make even a tractor endearing.... Berk’s able storytelling enriches and elaborates...."
Kirkus Reviews
Exquisite design coupled with evocative illustrations enrich this charming tale of a little bat taking his first solo flight and how he learns to "see" with his "good sense," otherwise known as echolocation. Although picture books about bats abound, small Chiro will capture readers' hearts immediately. When the bat-mother tells her child it is time for him to fly alone, the little one shares his fears about the darkness and his inability to see. His mother instructs him on what to do--"sing out into the world, and [listen to] the song the world sings back to you. Sing, and the world will answer. That is how you'll see." Up to this point, Long, utilizing acrylics and graphite, features the two creatures up close in toasty browns against a textured dark background. When the mother lets Chiro go, the page turn reveals an emotional change in perspective. No longer is the young bat cuddly and large on the page; now he appears tiny and vulnerable in the immense black spread. Talented storytelling features rich yet concrete language to describe and to build suspense during the bat's nocturnal trip. Vague but frightening shapes in the dark become defined as trees, bugs, geese and ocean waves in the bluish-green tones used to render a visual of the bat's echolocation. Young ones will relate to Chiro and cheer as he gains confidence with his newfound skill and will be deeply satisfied flying along on his sensory-rich journey. (Picture book. 4-7)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A wide-eyed young bat emerges from the textured blackness of the jacket/cover and end pages. The "O" of the title is like an obscured moon; the circle motif is repeated inside. In the bat cave, as the sun sets, his bat mother tells young Chiro that it is time for him to fly out into the world. He is afraid of the dark, where he cannot see. His mother tells him that there are other ways to see. He must use his other senses; the song he sings to the world that the world will answer. She sends him off to the pond for breakfast. When he becomes frightened in the dark, Chiro begins to sing, and the trees seem to sing back, as do other creatures. He eats his fill at the pond, but despite his mother's advice he flies beyond. Fortunately his song is answered so he can find his way home, telling his mother that it was VERY DARK... "and I saw everything." Acrylics and graphite create mystic double-page scenes. At first there is only the dark graphite atmosphere with Chiro's color producing a stark contrast. But as he sings, we note different colors, as if his singing produces areas of green and blue and, as he sings loudly, a crimson sky. Then, out of the chromatic fusion, the "song of home" tells him it is time to return to his mother's embrace. Bat radar is imaginatively explained. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Not since Janell Cannon's Stellaluna (Harcourt, 1993) have readers been introduced to such a charming young bat learning to navigate his world. Night closes in and Chiro's mother tells him it's time for him to fly alone; he will succeed if he uses his song, otherwise known as his "good sense," to guide him. Though timid about being on his own, the young bat ventures into the dark unknown and, remembering his mother's words, begins to sing. His song bounces off objects, enabling him to gain confidence as he goes farther from home than he would have ever thought possible. His growing self-assurance, natural curiosity, and newly acquired skill of finding his own food embolden him. The text extends the darkness by appearing bright in the center and fading to darker near the edges, though it is still clear and easy to decipher. Acrylic and graphite illustrations reveal a dark night and a sweet, cuddly bat with a freckled nose and long pointed ears. Children in groups or one-on-one readings will enjoy hearing about this endearing character's adventure.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416978862
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 150,881
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ari Berk is the author of the Undertaken trilogy and Nightsong, illustrated by Loren Long. He works in a library filled to the ceiling with thousands of arcane books and more than a few wondrous artifacts. When not writing, he moonlights as professor of mythology and folklore at Central Michigan University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and son. Visit him at AriBerk.com.

Loren Long illustrated President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing; the newest version of The Little Engine that Could; Madonna’s second picture book, Mr. Peabody’s Apples; Nightsong by Ari Berk; and the Barnstormers series. He also illustrated Frank McCourt’s Angela and the Baby Jesus and is part of the Design Garage for Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown series. Loren’s work has appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He lives with his wife and two sons in Westchester, Ohio. Visit him at LorenLong.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 21, 2013

    Beautiful story about a little bat making his way in the world a

    Beautiful story about a little bat making his way in the world and his mother's "wise words." But it's more than that, this story is so beautifully written that it's like reading a poem to your baby or child and the illustrations are adorable and vibrant and creative.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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