LONGLIST REVIEW: Superbat

Pat the Bat, tired of hanging around all day, dreams of being special – like the superheroes in his favourite comics. With the help of his mum’s trusty sewing machine he fashions a rather fetching costume and – TA DA! – Superbat is born. When they wake from their daytime slumbers, the other bats are all surprised to see their bat-friend dressed as a caped crusader. Eagerly, they ask Pat what his superpowers are: super-hearing! Flight! Echolocation!

The other bats were not impressed by Superbat’s ‘superpowers’.  All of the bats had super hearing.  They could all fly. And, every bat had the ability to find its way in the dark. Pat could not use his muscles to lift a car or shoot laser-beams from his eyes – he was nothing special.

Pat was trudging home, ears flopped and wings drooped.  He did not feel special.  He was just a normal bat in a silly costume. All of a sudden, his super-hearing picked up a faint cry: a cry of help. A bag, bad cat had trapped a family of mice! Like lightning, Superbat flew through the sky. In a blur of fur, and a flap of wings, he scared the mean moggy away. Superbat did have a superpower after all: courage!

Superbat would be an excellent launch-pad to discussing values and how these can be superpowers in themselves. It was the values Superbat already had inside, that helped him to achieve great things and made him truly special and truly super. Children can look at which values are their superpowers and which ‘superpowers’ their role models have. Children can also look at ‘everyday heroes’ and what makes them special, thinking about what makes a hero. Could Pat be a hero without his cape?

At the back of ‘Superbat’ there is a ‘Batty Facts!’ section that reveals even more about the skills, talents and habits of bats. But, there are many other animals with superpowers that could rival the bats’ – from super strength and super speed, to super vision and super camouflage. Children could explore other superheroes of the natural world.

This Bat-tastic book is fun, charming and filled with energy.  Bold and bright, the illustrations are simple and the mix of black against the vibrant palette of primary colours makes them pop off the page. These striking illustrations have a comic-book feel to them. This wonderful story would be perfect for bedtime or to share in class and belongs on every school library or classroom shelf.

Matt Carr

Scholastic    ISBN: 978 1 407172 82 8