I’m a huge fan of Charlotte Milner’s books. We have and love The Bee Book and The Sea Book and recently acquired her B is for Bee (Which is a fabulous version of The Bee Book accessible for preschoolers 💜) but I particularly love this one The Bat Book. Bats have a bad reputation largely thanks to horror films but I’ve loved bats ever since I was a little girl.
My mum had a stall indoors at the school fete and in the same room was a man from the local Bat Conservation Trust. He had a box in which were several bats (so they didn’t get too stressed by being continuously shown to various children) but many of the visitors had the typical horrified reaction to the idea of bats and so he wasn’t getting a lot of people to talk to.
I was fascinated and because I patiently listened and was a sensible young girl the expert gave me lots of information and carefully showed me the bats, I was delighted to actually see the beautiful creatures for real and have myths and fears dispelled.
I now want to pass that respect onto my daughters. The Bat Book by Charlotte Milner is the perfect book for the job to learn about these incredibly important creatures who play an important role in so many natural cycles including pollination, reforestation and even pest control on farms.
These beautiful mammals are truly astonishing and The Bat Book is chock full of beautifully illustrated information about the mammals themselves, their habitats and diets, their interactive role in their habitat and hints and tips to help support bats near you- yes even in urban environments and we will be acting on these to support bats in our local environment, because these creatures deserve to be creatures of respect and wonder.
I’m so lucky to be hosting a guest post from Charlotte herself on the research process into producing The Bat Book!
Guest Post: The research process for The Bat Book by Charlotte Milner
Researching The Bat Book was a lot of fun and took months of work before I could start drawing and writing. To get started with my research I went online, looking at the websites of some amazing bat conservation groups such as Bat Conservation Trust. They have loads of information about how bats live and why they need protecting. As I started to read some amazing facts about them, such as how bats pollinate over 500 species of plant and how bats are important for regenerating areas of rainforest, I couldn’t believe that more people weren’t talking about these amazing flying mammals.
As I become more absorbed in my research, I thought it was time that I knew more about the bays that lived around me. So to see bats for myself, I went on a bat walk in Hyde Park, London. Surrounded by the bustle of the city, I hadn’t expected to see many bats, maybe a few if we were lucky. But as the sun went down and we walked further into the park, tiny bats were darting all around us, dashing over the lake as they caught flies and moths mid-air. It was really exciting to see, especially because we had a particularly close sighting of a Noctule bat- the UK’s largest bat species flew inches over our heads. I’d really recommend going on a local bat walk to anyone, it is a magical experience to see bats when during the day, we don’t even consider them to be around. Using a bat detector is also good fun- it’s a gadget that detects the high-frequency sounds of bats and translates them into a sound that we can hear. It’s a great way to show how echolocation works.
I also worked on The Bat Book with Dr Rob Houston, an expert on the subject. He was able to tell me whether all the information I had gathered was correct as well as checking to see if all of my drawings were closely representing bat species enough. It is always very inspiring to work with consultants who share your enthusiasm for a certain subject. I had a lot of really interesting conversations with Rob about bats in the UK and around the world.
The research is always a fun part of making the book- it’s when I can also start to imagine how a page might look and get excited about how to best show an amazing face I’ve learnt. I hope that children as parents will have as much fun reading The Bat Book as I had learning about them.
Thank you so much Charlotte for creating this beautiful and fascinating book about these brilliant creatures, and to Antonia and DK Books for providing me with a copy and inviting me on this fascinating blog tour. 💜
Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour!
- Get Kids Into Books – Review
- Book Murmuration– Q & A with Charlotte
- Books for Topics – Review & Author Top Fave Facts about Bats
- Mamma Filz – Reviews of The Bat Book and looking at The Bee Book & The Sea Book too
- Library Girl & Book Boy– Charlotte details her illustrating process (with lots of pictures!)
- And check out Books With Baby for the last stop!
The Bat Book by Charlotte Milner is published by DK Books