Today I’m thrilled to share with you the cover of a new book by the beloved Caldecott-Honor winning author/illustrator, Brian Lies! Brian most recently showed us how grief can be so tenderly explored through The Rough Patch, which won a Caldecott honor; and also shared a beautiful tale of determination of furry friends who would not let a blizzard stop their venture to Bear’s house in Got to Get To Bear’s!
But today, Brian’s bats- well, specifically, one bat, is back and is headed to night school! Here’s a little bit more from Brian….
The book, LITTLE BAT in NIGHT SCHOOL, is a sort of spin-off of my bat books, featuring the small bat with yellow floaties / water wings who appeared in all four of them, almost as an Easter egg—never speaking, never mentioned in the text. He’s always been a sort of “innocent eye” to me, and it seemed he ought to come forward with a story of his own. Called LITTLE BAT in NIGHT SCHOOL, it’s for a slightly younger audience than my bat books, and ties in with social and emotional learning practices (though I see that as a layer, not the focus of the thing—I’m not a fan of “theme first” stories).
Little Bat is eager for school to start—but when he arrives, he doesn’t find the classroom packed with bats, as expected—it’s raccoons, owlets, and a ferret who’s really into cephalopods. Little Bat is excluded by the only two other bats there, who tell him “we’re already playing . . . with each other.” Flying into a coat cubby to hide, he discovers it’s already occupied by an opossum named Ophelia, who’s also hesitant to join the rest of the class.
Discovering their common feelings, they turn the experience around together and dive into a nighttime of activities, from counting (Little Bat’s “6” on paper looks right to him, but not to those who aren’t upside down) to show-and-tell, sharing food (“ Ophelia held something out. ‘This is delicious—my Mama found it on the road. Want some?’ “) to making art (Little Bat is crushed that someone else seems to be better at it than he is, until he’s reminded that “Practice makes . . . better”), to using their imagination and working cooperatively when faced with the boredom of unstructured recess time.
Are you ready??? Here it is…..
You’ll have to wait until about a year from now to see the book, but the good news? You can already order from your favorite independent bookseller here.
Thanks, Brian, for the honor of sharing the cover! I can’t wait to see more!