Thursday, March 16, 2017

"A Boy Called Bat"

Elana K. Arnold writes books for and about children and teens. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing/Fiction from the University of California, Davis where she has taught Creative Writing and Adolescent Literature.

Arnold applied the Page 69 Test to her new book, A Boy Called Bat, and reported the following:
This page actually has very little text on it, as most of the page is taken up by one of Charles Santoso’s wonderful illustrations. The little there is reads:
because the only thing he could think about was the wet, uncomfortable stain on his shirt.

Dad’s apartment was in a complex that had a pool and a workout room. Kids under thirteen weren’t allowed to use the workout equipment,
But, the illustration is actually quite telling, even apart from words. It shows Bat, who has spilled his cocoa down the front of his shirt, and Dad, who looks mildly alarmed and a bit annoyed. Dad is wearing one of his trademark baseball caps; Bat is holding what is left of his cup of hot chocolate. Bat’s relationship with Dad is sort of strained; he stays with Dad every other weekend, which he has mixed feelings about; Dad isn’t always sensitive to Bat’s particularities; going to Dad’s apartment this weekend means leaving the new skunk kit at home with Mom for three whole days. So things are already a bit fraught before the hot chocolate spill.

A Boy Called Bat is about an autistic kid who loves an orphaned baby skunk, and it is also about family dynamics, emotional struggles, fledgling friendships, the joys of research, and the importance of a network of caring adults in the life of a child. I hope that a reader flipping to page 69 would be compelled to flip back to page one, find a cozy corner and perhaps a bar of chocolate, and would settle in for a good read.
Learn more about the book and author at Elana K. Arnold's website.

The Page 69 Test: Burning.

--Marshal Zeringue