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Little Lost Bat

by Sandra Markle; illustrated by Alan Marks Charlesbridge; $15.95 For ages 4 to 8

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Sensitive, but never sentimental, Little Lost Bat tells the story of a different type of adoptive family. After he’s born, a little bat and his mother spend several idyllic days of cuddling and feeding. Then, one day, his mother doesn’t return from an insect-hunting expedition. Another bat mom, who has lost her own baby, responds to the sad “sh-sh-sh” cry of this scared and hungry little bat. Before long, a new family is formed.

Award-winning children’s author Sandra Markle doesn’t flinch in her telling of the demise of the little bat’s mother; she relates it matter-of-factly. My own children, ages seven and eight, were saddened by the death of the first mother, but not troubled. They both liked how the baby bat and his new mother found each other.

This beautifully realized story includes a lot of factual information about Mexican free-tailed bats. In her author’s note, Markle explains why the species is a natural fit for an adoption story: “Tissue tests show as many as 10 percent of all Mexican free-tailed bat mothers aren’t the genetic mothers of the babies they’re nursing.” Alan Marks’ delicate watercolor illustrations capture the rich darkness of a cave and the wide expanse of the night sky—as well as the sweetness of the mother-baby bat relationship.

I approached this as an adoption tale, but this enchanting storybook will appeal to all children who like stories about animal families. (If Stellaluna is a favorite in your household, your children will enjoy Little Lost Bat.) Parents, take note: This is one story you won’t get tired of re-reading, no matter how often you’re asked.

Reviewed by Roberta Rosenberg, the owner of and, and mom to three children.

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