Twenty million bats roosting in one cave? Impossible? Bracken Bat Cave in Texas is home to that many Mexican free-tailed “bat moms and their pups” who spend the summer in this “maternity colony.” Children will learn this and other facts about bats in this interactive title, and for the “very curious” there is even a section on how the app was created.
PreS-Gr 4-Science teachers and bat lovers rejoice! In seven brief chapters this nonfiction title takes readers and listeners on a vivid nighttime trek through an Asian jungle, a northern farm, and a southwestern desert to view a variety of these nocturnal flying mammals.
An illustrated table of contents opens the title. Viewers can start at chapter one, “Fliers with Fur,” or select another section covering such topics as “Seeing with Sound” or “Bat Colonies.” The simple, informative text can be listened to or read; both the narration and sound effects can be switched on or off. Each screen includes a few lines of boxed text, and often, a caption describing the photographs, illustrations, and maps used to depict bat species, their anatomy, habits, and habitats. Older readers can dig a little deeper; touching illuminated points will cause more text will appear. (One animated sequence offers an explanation of echolocation.)
The graphics and sound effects vary as readers travel to the various regions, guided by illuminated and blinking arrows. Highlights for children include a make-your-own-bat-screech capability, opportunities to seek-and-find the hidden creatures, and the chance to steer a bat on a nighttime flight. A link to further study and conservation efforts is an added bonus. (For adults there’s information on what to do if you find a bat in your home, instructional materials for purchase, and an opportunity to join Bat Conservation International.) This engaging app is great for classroom use and will be visited many times over.—Amy Shepherd, Librarian, St. Anne’s Episcopal School, Middletown, DE