________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 21. . . .February 4, 2011.


Bats on Break. (Bat Series).

Sharon Jennings. Illustrated by Kalle Malloy.
Toronto, ON: HIP-JR, 2011.
65 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-926847-10-8.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Janice Foster.



Bats on Break Teacher’s Guide.

Lori Jamison.
Toronto, ON: HIP-JR, 2011.
24 pp., stapled, $5.95.
ISBN 978-1-926847-11-5.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Janice Foster.




“Why are the police there?” Simon asked. We hurried over to see what was going on.

The story was simple: four turtles were missing. Someone stole them during the night. The police were asking if anyone saw anything.

That’s when Harry spoke up. “I know who did it.”
Oh great. I knew what he was going to say. He was going to blame Manny. But I was wrong.

“That guy did it!” Harry shouted. And then he pointed right at Simon.

The fifth book in the “Bats Mystery” series, Bats on Break, sees the two members of the Bat Gang, Sam and Simon, heading off on a Spring Break vacation in the sun. They soon find themselves involved in the mystery of uncovering an endangered turtle smuggling operation. With this mystery at the forefront of the story, several other plot elements round out an exciting, fast paced novel. Harassment by the bully Harry, a participant in the resort’s Kids Club, exploring a bat cave and searching for lost pirate treasure all keep the action moving and the reader’s interest piqued through the book.

     Once again. author Sharon Jennings creates a story that will appeal to the young adolescent reader through the interweaving of age appropriate topics, such as friendship, bullying, and vacations, with colloquial dialogue, humour, excitement and fast paced adventure. The controlled vocabulary and short chapter layout, together with the simple black and white illustrations by Katie Malloy, provide a comfortable reading format for the reluctant reader.

     The accompanying Teacher’s Guide, by language arts consultant Lori Jameson, follows the same teaching suggestions format as previous teacher guides in the series. This guide provides different strategies for Bats on Break in a classroom setting with both proficient and reluctant readers. Lesson plans are provided with activities for independent reading, guided reading or literature circles. These include chapter discussion points and activities, a plot synopsis, a quiz, reading a non-fiction article, comparing characters, examining cliffhanger endings and after reading activities suggestions. This guide presents teachers and English as an Additional Language (EAL) instructors with ideas to assist struggling readers in becoming successfully engaged in reading.

Highly Recommended.

Janice Foster, a former teacher and teacher-librarian, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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