Gr 3-5 On his first night in his new home, 11-year-old Ricky meets a nasty bat named Voro who tells him to get his family out of the houseor else. Naturally no one believes Ricky's story and he is eventually taken to a psychologist. The bat continues to make threats, and Ricky is terrified that his family will be hurt. The dramatic tension necessary to make this a successful novel of suspense never materializes. The plot is further weakened by the sub-plot concerning Ricky's adjustment to a new school and neighborhood. Both plots are neatly and unconvincingly wound up. After days of ignoring him, Ricky's classmates suddenly become friendly. In the climactic confrontation with the bats, the mere act of defying them crumples the bats' resolvethe classic cliche of standing up to the bully. At the last second, Ricky's parents see the bats, thereby removing all doubts about Ricky's mental state. This combination of suspense and problem novel is not smoothly integrated, and in the end neither aspect works. Lisa Smith, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.