________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 13 . . . . February 26, 1999

cover Bat Summer.

Sarah Withrow.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre, 1998.
174 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 0-88899-352-8.

Subject Headings:
Runaway children-Juvenile fiction.
Peer pressure-Juvenile fiction.
Bats-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5 - 8 / Ages 10 - 13.
Review by Joanne Peters.

*** /4


We all take turns holding the line. The kite looks cool when it's in the air. There's something about flying things and the way they seem to find invisible paths in the sky. Flying a kite, even a dorky Christmas wrapping-paper kite, is as close to flying as you can get. You can feel the sky pulling you up. You can feel yourself nearly get swallowed by the sky.

...Now that we've got the thing up, it's never coming down. It's like a bird and we're holding its tail and it's trying to get away from us by flying to the stratosphere. No way are we letting go. No way is Lucy letting go. No escape for that bird, man.

We can't get the thing to reel in, it wants to get away so bad. You can feel the line stretching, and, since it's our only line, we don't want it to break by forcing it too much. I'm secretly rooting for the kite. I want it to get away, to take off forever into the world of wind.

The kite floats in the sky over Toronto's Wells Hills Park, where Terence first encounters Lucy, red-headed, wearing a blue cape, super-hero style, and face paintings which change daily. She is a crusader for underdogs, and currently she champions bats. Terence is as un-cool and "completely ordinary" as Lucy is extraordinary. Maybe that's the basis of their friendship. With his best friend off at canoe camp, Terence is left wondering what he will do all summer. But after meeting Lucy, it becomes a "bat summer" in which Terence enters into Lucy's world. Neglected by her family and traumatized by the death of a friend, Lucy believes that she is a bat. A bit of imagining at first, being a bat becomes intensely real for Lucy who runs away from home and plans to launch herself into the air on a "Save the Bats" kite. In helping Lucy return to reality and her family, Terence learns that he is more than completely ordinary, and that, in his own way, he is extraordinary too.


Joanne Peters is the teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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