Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night Reviews

School Library Journal

BatCitizens_Website“This extensive introduction to the world of bats covers a wide range of topics from where they live to what they eat to how they communicate. Laidlaw debunks myths such as bats are blind and discusses threats to their survival, such as the devastating disease, white nose syndrome, and human disruption of hibernating sites….Particularly interesting are 10 profiles of ‘bat citizens’ from around the world who are helping conservations efforts…A center gate fold opens to reveal a larger-than-life hoary bat with various anatomical features labeled and explained….VERDICT Even readers who don’t actively engage in citizen science projects should gain a new appreciation of bats through this engaging overview. A good choice for most school and public library collections.”
—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato

Read the full review in the March/April 2018 issue of School Library Journal

Booklist

“[T]hese remarkable nocturnal ninjas are up against threats ranging from urban development to white-nose syndrome. In this educational primer, animal activist Laidlaw (Elephant Journey, 2016) briefs readers on all things bat—and the youngsters working to protect them. With each turn of the page comes a new concept (habitat, hibernation, and diet, to name a few) and a treasure trove of bat-tastic full-color photos….While those already entranced by these singular creatures of the night will be inspired anew, the succinct, well-researched text and interactive format—including a center gatefold of a life-size hoary bat—is sure to recruit a fresh legion of bat lovers, too. Bat citizens unite.”
Briana Shemroske

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Publishers Weekly

“Author and animal welfare activist Laidlaw shows some love for the undervalued bat, while celebrating the work of other bat-enthusiasts to educate the public about the animals….In addition to the striking photographs, a gatefold features a life-size painting of a hoary bat in flight. Many readers will be inspired by Laidlaw’s implication that anyone can become an animal advocate with enough curiosity and compassion.”

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CM Magazine

“Because bats are a favorite topic for many young readers, there’s always room in the marketplace for another book, especially one that is comprehensive, based on the latest data, and written in an appealing, kid friendly style….

Scientific information is presented in a direct, easy to read manner throughout, with sufficient detail to answer most questions young readers might have….[B]ecause bat populations are being decimated by White Nose Syndrome, readers learn about the latest research. To help with the loss of habitat or disturbance, readers read how concerned citizens are providing bat roosting boxes, prohibiting people from entering old mines and caves, and most interesting, researching ways to protect bats from wind turbines that kill millions….Since bats have long been given a bad rap, everything in this book is aimed at dispelling the myths….

The book profiles 11 kids, starting as young as four, with life long interests in bats and ambitions to be involved in the solutions to their conservation. Arming these kids with today’s technology is resulting in new data collection. They are terrific ambassadors whose dedication to the cause will inspire readers to think about their own interests and aspirations in science fields.

The orderly layout of the book will engage readers and leave a strong impression. The main text, with large bold subheadings, occupies the centre of each double-spread, framed on each side and along the bottom with many well chosen, captioned photos and sidebars. An exciting surprise awaits mid book: a huge foldout diagram of a Hoary Bat with key body parts labelled. The same poster graces the reverse of the cover. That cover, by the way, is striking for its matte black finish with glossy silhouettes and large bat flying towards you. This is a most visually appealing book! Bat Citizens’ contents should readily satisfy the bat curious.

Highly Recommended.
—Gillian Richardson

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Resource Links Magazine

“Rating: E…Readers of any of award winning Rob Laidlaw’s previous books will agree with the description on the jacket cover of Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night “Rob Laidlaw has devoted his life to protecting animals and empowering others to do the same.” One of the ways that Rob protects animals and empowers others is by producing excellent information-packed books.

Bat Citizens combines an impressive amount of research about bats with snapshots of many ‘bat citizens’, children and young adults, helping bats world-wide. Rob states in his introduction “Bats are disappearing because of threats like habitat destruction, roost disturbance, disease, and wind turbines.” The purpose of the book is to inform readers, to think good things about bats, and to provide inspiration and advice to help bats….

This book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries. Each ‘Bat Citizen’ article could be a starting point for individual or group projects, such as learning mapping software to study local bat ranges, conducting experiments to understand echolocation, building bat-houses in shop class for the school, and community. Students could host a bat festival educating and encouraging others to understand bats. The world needs bats.

Thematic Links: Bats; Bat Conservation; Animal Activists; Animal Welfare”
—Laura Reilly

Read the full review on page 22 of the April 2018 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Kirkus Reviews

“Chock-full of bat facts and photographs, this nonfiction book for young readers makes the case for bat conservation, including challenges that face the species and possible solutions….The smaller ‘bat facts’ and ‘batty ideas’ boxed items, on the other hand, fit in nicely with surrounding photographs….[A] striking center gatefold allows readers a closer look at a hoary bat….Look to this eye-catching book to be convinced of the wonders of the bat and how they are deserving of protection.”

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Canadian Children’s BookNews

“Creatures of the night, bats are definitely cool. The second largest group of mammals in the world, and the only mammals capable of true flight, bats are shadowy and fascinating, a perennial favourite amongst kids. But, like so many other animals, many species of bats are threatened or endangered. In this highly engaging and informative title, celebrated animal activist and biologist Rob Laidlaw sheds light on these ‘ninjas of the night’ and the efforts being made to save them….

Far from portraying bats as sinister denizens of the night, this engrossing book celebrates them as amazing creatures that are critically important to natural ecosystems and beneficial to humans. With a page devoted to 14 ways kids can help bats, many young readers will be inspired to become citizen scientists and to participate in bat-preservation activities. Visually attractive and full of clearly written scientific information, this is a must-have title for all young science and animal enthusiasts!”
—Tracey Schindler

Read the full review on page 26 of the Summer 2018 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? For a fairly slim volume (48 p.), this book contains so much information about bats! Taking a global perspective, Laidlaw presents details about a surprising number of the 1,300 species of bats that exist, including physical characteristics, habitats, raising their young, threats, and the benefits of preserving a healthy bat population….

To whom would you recommend this book? Recommended both as a topic for animal-related research projects and for display at Halloween time for readers in upper elementary and middle school. For additional batty information aimed at this age group, pair with Bat Scientists from the Scientists in the Field series or Hanging with Bats by Karen Taschek….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Top half of the pile if non-fiction animal topics interest you, but don’t be surprised if you wind up putting up bat boxes in your backyard afterwards.”
—Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

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Midwest Book Review

“Of special note is the Spotlight features on ‘Bat Citizens’ make this an empowering book for children ages 8 to 12 seeking their own expressions of global citizenship. With informational sidebars, color photographs, a glossary and index, and a center-gatefold bat illustration, Bat Citizens is an outstandingly informative and thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ book that will prove to be a welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to both elementary school and community library collections.”

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Kids’ BookBuzz

“If you love bats or the kids who are protecting them, then you will love Bat Citizens. While telling you a lot about bats, this book focuses on what kids are doing to help them. On almost every alternate page, you meet a new kid who is doing something to help the world better understand bats and their habitat.

I liked reading each kid’s story and was impressed with the things they are doing. For instance, Alexis Valentine started protecting bats when she was only in third grade! She even holds her own research permit in a national park!

There are lots of photographs, and the book seems well researched, as it includes a lot of facts and many different kids. It would be great for a research project, but most kids won’t sit down and read it cover to cover. It includes a glossary and a list of organizations that help bats. It also has a small poster of a hand-drawn, life-size Hoary Bat, although I would like the poster more if it was an actual photograph.

Overall, I think this book would be best for a school library or for kids who absolutely love bats.”
—Neela, Age 9

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The Hamilton Spectator, “Good Nature Books for Children of Various Ages”

“Bats have it tough right now. Not only are they suffering from habitat loss, but the disease white-nose syndrome (WNS) is wiping out entire bat populations. To help these important and fascinating animals we need to learn more about them and Rob Laidlaw’s book Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night provides lots of interesting information….

Complementing the interesting text are numerous colour photographs, a centre-gatefold bat illustration and a poster. Numerous features of ‘Bat Citizens’ (young people working to protect bats) along with sidebars and a glossary also help to make Bat Citizens an excellent book aimed at helping these incredible, vital and often misunderstood mammals. Highly recommended!”

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Quill & Quire

“This jam-packed book of facts and fanatics is enjoyable for bat lovers and the uninitiated.”

Read the full review on page 36 of the April 2018 issue of Quill & Quire

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Young readers love knowing as much as they can about bats. Rob Laidlaw writes terrific nonfiction on topics that kids love to read. It’s a win-win situation. No one will be disappointed when sharing this new book.

Rob’s writing style is conversational, and personal. He provides clear information, based on up-to-date study and creates a book that is perfect fare for his target audience….

The information provided throughout is easy to follow, answers most common questions and leaves readers with a good amount of knowledge concerning these oft-maligned creatures. The final section provides ideas for being a friend to bats. Making sure that buildings are safe for bats to make their homes there, bat mapping, understanding how important bats are to a healthy world, raising money to help fund bat research, and celebrating their place in the world. A list of 14 Ways You Can Help Bats, and a list of the many organizations that help bats around the world are presented. A glossary and index follow.

Impressive and well-researched, as are other books by Rob Laidlaw, there is much to like about this fine book.”

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Book Time

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw is an amazing book with lots of information, pictures and stories….There is also information about the variety of threats bats face, including white-nose syndrome, and humans (of course) as well as suggestions on what we can do to help our winged friends.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This informative book is about a number of young people who have become engaged with bats…This book is a great way for kids to learn more about bats and the different species that exist from miniscule to ones with two metre wingspans. There are lots of pictures, including a poster that comes with the book, and the format has short single page articles on different bats, traits, and the defenders….

This will make a great addition to public and school libraries, and, hopefully, engage more young people in defending bats and their environment.”

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