Monday, December 19th, 2005
Book Review: Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Jannell Cannon is a children’s book author and artist who focuses on under appreciated and misunderstood creatures. She has turned a cockroach and hyena into loveable characters, but it was Stellaluna which caught my attention.
This is a story about a baby fruit bat who gets separated from her mother one night and finds herself in a nest of birds. She is cared for by the bird mother, and during her stay Stellaluna learns how she differs from her feathered friends. Later, she reunites with her mother and the bat community, but realizes she still enjoys her bird friends. Check out these teaching aides which have some interesting ideas on how to present the story beyond merely reading the words.
The illustrations are fabulous, but I bought the book because I’m a rookie caver with an affection for lava tubes (caves formed by lava flows). In two or three years I’ll introduce Little Miss to caves and I want her appreciating bats, not fearing them. Kids only fear what the world teaches them to fear. There’s nothing cooler than being out in nature, awaiting a sunrise or sunset near a cave mouth and watching bats swirl above you as they head to or from their home.
That said, you don’t need to leave "civilization" to see bats. My grandparents had bats living in the shutters on their house. As kids, we had fun peering in to see these curious creatures. Bats live in metropolitan areas, too. You never know until you install a bat house outside your home (or pitch the idea to your property manager) and let it be a learning tool, in addition to providing needed bat habitat and environmental benefits (bats eat insects like crazy).
Also see: Bat Conservation International