Nightsong, by Ari Berk and Loren Long.
Two of the most important lessons of growing up — “don’t be afraid of adventuring” and “don’t be an idiot,” respectively — summed up by an adorable little bat. A+.
I’ll admit: I’m particularly partial to picture books about bats in general. Any book that makes often-“demonised” animals relatable and likeable to kids, honestly, but particularly bats. (Which are one of my own favourite animals.)
And just look at that little face. How is that not likeable?
In case you couldn’t guess already, for my project this month, I am only picking out books with art that I love. They’re picture books, after all; if you don’t enjoy the pictures, then what’s the point? And this one is no exception.
The art is adorable, and the colouring is absolutely gorgeous. Like The Dark, the colouring is a contrast of shadowy blacks/greys and safer, warm colours, though obviously the art styles themselves vastly differ.
Here, too, it matches the mood of the story.
At first, little bat Chiro (whose name was inspired by the order name for bats, “chiroptera,” from the Greek cheir, “hand,” and pteron, “wing”) is at first afraid to venture out into the dark night by himself. But as his mother tells him, “Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you. Sing, and the world will answer. That is how you’ll see.”
So basically, “Go adventuring! Be brave! Just don’t be an idiot!” (Or, you know, use echolocation, but “don’t be an idiot” seems a more useful interpretation for human children, here.)
That’s what I call valuable lessons.