Bats! Bats! Bats!

Ages 4-6

Curator Rebekah K.

Curator Rebekah K.

Why I Created This Kit:

Bats are a farm animal, zoo animal, forest animal, tropical animal, rainforest animal, city animal, and a jungle animal. Bats live on every continent except for Antarctica. They are amazing creatures. My first encounter with a bat was when my neighbor came to our door, screaming because there was a bat in her house. I went to her house to see my first bat. It was pretty small and fuzzy, not anything to scream about, in my opinion. In fact, bats flying in the night sky are a beautiful sight. These amazing mammals are very graceful and make a cool silhouette against the setting sun. My local zoo has a bat enclosure where I can watch the bats and ask their keepers questions. Zookeepers and forest or park rangers in your area can answer questions about bats for you.


Storytime Books

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Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (4-6)

Attacked by an owl, Stellaluna (a fruit bat) is separated from her mother and taken in by a bird and her nestlings. Dutifully, she tries to accommodate--she eats insects, hangs head up, and sleeps at night, as Mama Bird says she must--but once Stellaluna learns to fly, it's a huge relief when her own mother finds her and explains that the behavior that comes naturally is appropriate to her species. With a warm, nicely honed narration, Cannon strikes just the right balance between accurate portrayal of the bats and the fantasy that dramatizes their characteristics. Her illustrations, in luminous acrylics and color pencils, are exquisite. The appealingly furry, wide-eyed, fawn-colored bats have both scientific precision and real character; they're displayed against intense skies or the soft browns and greens of the woodland in spare, beautifully constructed (occasionally even humorous) compositions. Delightful and informative but never didactic: a splendid debut. (Kirkus, Starred Review) 

Lexile: AD550 L As an adult-directed book, Stellaluna makes an enchanting, feel good, read aloud.

Awards: Buckaroo Book Award (Wyoming), California Young Reader Medal: Primary, Delaware Diamonds: Primary (Grades K-2), E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards: Middle Reader, Keystone to Reading Book Award (Pennsylvania): Intermediate category, South Carolina Book Awards: Children's Books

 

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Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies (Ages 4-6)

This is the quintessential book about going to the beach complete with overflowing picnic baskets, kite flying, singing around the campfire, and scratchy sand in places “where no sand should be.” Kids will certainly identify with the exuberant and familiar fun, but what will get them howling is the fact that the characters are bats that are visiting thebeach in the moonlight. The rhyming text is grounded in reality with many inventive twists to keep the imagination rolling. There is moon-tan lotion, salted ’skeeters, and bat kites. Where the book truly soars is in the dark yet luminescent art where bat wings glow in the light of the full moon and the sky is a steely blue. The faces on thebats are furry and friendly. These creatures use cocktail umbrellas for beach umbrellas; they hold wing-boat races in red-and-white checked food containers; and when it’s time for a late-night snack, they enter the ice-cream shack where a lit light bulb attracts a multitude of succulent bugs. Readers may not be tempted to try marshmallows with bug legs and gossamer wings but that won’t keep them from reveling in this grand adventure. (School Library Journal)

 

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Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (Ages 4-6)

In this latest from Lies, it's all—deservingly—about the artwork. He brings a sure, expressive and transporting hand to this story of a colony of bats paying a nighttime visit to a small-town library. There is enough merriness here to keep the story bubbling, and young readers will certainly identify with some of the bats that have gotten a bit bored by the visit, as bats will do, and started monkeying around with the photocopier. There is a lovely image of a group of bats hanging around the rim of a reading lamp listening to a story; the peach-colored light illuminates the immediate vicinity while the rest of the library is shadowed and mysterious. The rhymed text, on the other hand, feels unmulled, leaving the artwork to do the heavy lifting. Pictures light-handedly capture the Cheshire Bat, Winnie theBat and Little Red Riding Bat, only to be trumped by some ill-considered sermonizing—"But little bats will have to learn / the reason that we must return." Buy it for the pictures. (Kirkus)

Lexile Level: AD720 L makes this a storytime book

Awards: E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards: Picture Book

The E.B. White Read-Aloud Award honors books “that reflect the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal to a wide range of ages embodied by E.B. White’s collection of beloved books." (NoveList)

 

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Nightsong by Ari Berk (Ages 4-8)

Description: 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. (Kirkus, Starred Review)

Lexile: AD790L


Informational Books

Amazing Bats by Frank Greenway

Description: Full-color photos & full-color illustrations. Explains how bats "see" in the dark, which bats eat fruit or insects and which suck blood, and why some bats have "nose leaves," ear spikes, and other unusual facial features.

Lexile: AD900L

 

Bats by Elizabeth Carney (Ages 5-7)

Description: They live in spooky caves, in forests, even in the dark reaches of ordinary attics and bridges. They flock by the hundreds, and they sleep while hanging upside down! In this beautifully photographed Level 2 reader, kids learn about one of the most interesting creatures around—and discover the bat’s unique place in the wild and in the world. The high-interest topic, expertly written text, and bonus learning activity lay the groundwork for a successful and rewarding reading experience. (Amazon)

Lexile: 690L


Suggested Apps

Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night by Mary Kay Carson (Ages 6 and up) 

Publisher: Story Worldwide

Format: iOS (iOS 4.0 or later for $2.99)

Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night layers clear text with interesting diagrams, beautiful photographs, and interactive features that enhance young readers' understanding of the subject. The design elements are top-notch, providing just the right amount of zing to keep kids engaged without distracting them from the essence of the material. A well-executed informative nonfiction app that anyone implementing the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Common Core State Standards will find beneficial. This is what a book app should be, it takes you beyond the book with innovative technology related to the topic.

 


A Little Bit About Bats

Bats are the only flying mammals.

Bats are nocturnal. This means they are active at night and sleep during the day.

There are over 1,200 species of bats.

The smallest bats have a 6 inch wingspan. This means they are 6 inches wide when their wings are open.

Bats locate their food in one of two different ways. 1) Some bats (microchiropterans) locate their prey using echolocation. These bats make a noise so high we cannot hear it. This sound bounces off of things, helping the bat locate objects. 2) Other bats (megachiropterans) simply use their sense of smell to locate food.

Bats eat bugs, including mosquitoes, and pollinate fruit, so they are good for our neighborhoods.

Bats don’t want to bite you; but, they will bite in self-defense, so don’t catch them to hold them. If a bat has fallen on the ground don’t touch it with your bare hands. First make sure it is safe from other animals, then find a small tree branch and gently touch the bats feet with the branch. This allows the bat to grab the branch so you can gently set it up on a tree branch among the leaves. If the bat is hurt, you will want to call a local wildlife rescuer. Bats need people who are trained to help them recover from their injuries, they cannot survive well as pets.

 


Discussion Starters

Discussion Starter #1

When I start to look for information about a new subject or about something I’m interested in, I start by asking questions.  Before I read, I think about what I already know, then I wonder who, what, where, when, why, and how about my topic. Asking why might be my favorite question. After I read, I make sure to think about any other questions I have so I can ask someone else to help me answer my questions.

Here are some questions I asked about bats:

  • What do I already know about bats?
  • Who takes care of bats?
  • What kind of animal is a bat?
  • Where do bats live? Why?
  • When are bats awake and when are bats asleep? Why?
  • Will bats hurt me? Why or Why not?
  • What do bats eat? Why?
  • How many kinds of bats are there?
  • Which bats are the smallest and which are the largest?
  • Why are some people afraid of bats?
  • What other questions do I have about bats? Who can I ask?


 

Discussion Starter #2

Because bats live are our neighbors, we need to be aware of their needs. They need food, shelter, water, and they need to be safe. You could begin a conversation about bat’s needs by sharing some information before asking questions.

For example, you could say, “Bats live and hibernate in old buildings, trees, and caves. What do you think happens to a bat community when large areas of trees are cut down and not re-planted?” Encourage responses by accepting all ideas and guiding the conversation toward facts. You could say, “Yes, the bats could die. If trees are cut down, is there another place the bats could live?”

Other topics to discuss include the bat’s diet and water supply. “Bats eat lots of bugs, fruit, and flowers. What happens to the bat’s food supply when we use insecticides (chemicals to kill bugs) in our neighborhood or in our parks?” Or,” Bats need  plenty of water, how can we be sure bats in our neighborhood don’t go thirsty?”


Activities

Art: Handprint Bat

Cost: Minimal, if using materials you have on hand

To make a bat out of your handprints you will need:

  • Paper
  • Finger paints
  • Markers or crayons
  • Glue
  • A clothespin
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. Coat each palm with paint
  2. Set hands on paper, thumbs together, with fingers spread out
  3. Lift hands straight up
  4. Allow time to dry before drawing a face on the thumb area of your bat
  5. Cut out the bat
  6. Glue a clothespin to the back of the bat & hang him anywhere you like

Less Mess Alternative: Trace and cut out the handprints, glue them together, and draw a face on the thumb area of your bat.

 

Origami: Bat

Cost: Minimal, if using materials you have on hand

To make your own origami bat you will need:

  • Paper
  • Markers to draw eyes

For easy step-by-step directions for this activity, visit this site.

 

Nature Journal

Some pretty amazing people have kept their own nature journals. Luther Burbank’s journals and gardens are pretty amazing. He drew what he found in nature and in his garden and labeled everything. As he worked with seeds and plants, he used his journals to keep track of his work. Keeping a nature journal is pretty simple.

Cost: Minimal, if using materials you have on hand

To make your own nature journal you will need:

  • Cardboard (a cereal box would work)
  • A hole punch
  • Paper, if you’ve made your own paper, here’s a great use for it
  • Pencils
  • Color pencils or markers
  • Twist ties, string, or yarn
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. Cut cardboard larger than your paper for a writing surface
  2. Create a cover for your nature journal
  3. Punch 2 or 3 holes in the cardboard and paper
  4. Connect your paper and cardboard writing surface using twist ties, string, or yarn
  5. Head outside and look at the world around you, draw and label what you see. If you go out around dusk, can you find any bats?

Family Experience

  1. Visit your local zoo or a regional park and ask the keepers or park rangers some of your questions about bats. Record your questions and answers in a nature journal.

  2. Plant some flowers or herbs (edging the lawn or in pots) that will attract insects bats like to eat for supper: Evening primrose, fennel, lavender, rosemary, and thyme. Record your questions and answers in a nature journal.

  3. Go outside in the evening, 15 to 45 minutes before sunset, and count and identify the bats in your neighborhood using a bat detector app. If you aren’t seeing many bats in your neighborhood, head to a park or take a walk around older buildings in your city, where bats are likely to live. You’ll see lots of other animals and many plants as you look around, so record your questions and answers in a nature journal.

If you want to know exactly which animals you should be able to find, you can create a list of the wildlife in your area using eNature’s ZipGuides. Use the app listed below to listen to and identify bats.

Echo Meter Touch Bat Detector

Publisher: Wildlife Acoustics

Format: iOS (iOS 6.0 or later for free)


Media Resources

Reading Rainbow: Stellaluna (28 minutes)

You can find the video for a reading of Stellaluna here.

 

Cool Science – About Bats

 

To the Bat Cave!

See brown bats up close with the Kratt brothers here.

 

Rhymes

5 little bats went on a flight

by the light of the moon one night

Mama bat said, “Squeak, squeak, squeak, swack!”

but only 4 little bats came back.

 

4 little bats went on a flight

by the light of the moon one night

Mama bat said, “Squeak, squeak, squeak, swack!”

but only 3 little bats came back.

3 little bats went on a flight

by the light of the moon one night

Mama bat said, “Squeak, squeak, squeak, swack!”

but only 2 little bats came back.

 

2 little bats went on a flight

by the light of the moon one night

Mama bat said, “Squeak, squeak, squeak, swack!”

but only 1 little bat came back.

 

1 little bat went on a flight

by the light of the moon one night

Mama bat said, “Squeak, squeak, squeak, swack!”

and all 5 little bats came back.

(Source: Naturally Educational)

 

Songs

  1. Five Little Bats (3 minutes)
  2. Bats, Bats, Bats (3 minutes)

Additional Resources & Recommendations

Websites

  1. Incredible Bats
  2. Echolocation
 

Cool books that include bats:

What Do You Do With A Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Ages 4-8)

On each spread, five different animals' tails, ears, eyes, or other body parts, done in vibrant cut-paper collage, appear with a simple question ("What do you do with a tail like this?"). The next spread shows the five creatures in their entirety and offers a brief explanation. For example, "If you're an elephant, you use your nose to give yourself a bath." The back pages offer more information for older or more curious readers. (School Library Journal)

Lexile: 620L

 

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman (6-8)

Come feel the cool and shadowed breeze,

come smell your way among the trees,

come touch rough bark and leathered leaves:

Welcome to the night.

Welcome to the night, where mice stir and furry moths flutter. Where snails spiral into shells as orb spiders circle in silk. Where the roots of oak trees recover and repair from their time in the light. Where the porcupette eats delicacies—raspberry leaves!—and coos and sings. Come out to the cool, night wood, and buzz and hoot and howl—but do beware of the great horned owl—for it’s wild and it’s windy way out in the woods!  (Amazon)

Awards: Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, John Newbery Medal, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, ALA Notable Children’s Books, Booklist Editor’s Choice

Check out the poem “Bat Wraps Up” in the book Dark Emperor and other poems of the night by Joyce Sidman. As you read “Bat Wraps Up”, notice the way Ms. Sidman uses verse and punctuation to guide the rhythm of the words you read. The commas, ellipses, and periods are all signs to the reader to pause. This is how poets create a cadence.

Lexile: 1020L


About Rebekah

An insomniac since 1979, Rebekah has filled her nights with books & history. Rebekah's earliest memories are of watching documentaries, reading books, and playing Candy Land late at night with her dad. Is it any wonder that she doesn't consider being a librarian and teacher a job? During her fifteen years, in college and K-12 libraries and 10 years in English, ESL, and History classrooms, she has spent her days talking about books and history, sometimes at the same time. Rebekah says, "I love pairing readers with books that are a perfect fit. I feel like I have won a war when a reluctant reader returns to tell me they hated reading; but, after reading a book I recommended, they stay up with a flashlight to read until the page is blurry."

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