Science Comics: Bats
By Falynn Koch
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
This is a beautiful alteration on the Science Comics line – a book on, well bats, aimed at the younger reader. Prior books have been aimed at a ‘tweenie’ audience, whereas this can easily be read by a younger reader. As stated before (and rather blatantly in the title) this subject on hand is bats and this is an informative, educational look at the only flying mammals. Filled with trivia and biological facts, for example on the nature of echolocation and the fact that the bat stems from the primate family, this is sure to entertain anyone who holds interest in bats, big or small, or wants to educate themselves on bat preservation such as making ‘bat-friendly’ shelters. Science Comics: Bats is a welcome addition to the line.
The writing was what struck me immediately – not preachy, and only resorting to scientific nomenclature when absolutely necessary. It struck me that this is precisely like my long gone, dog-eared copy of Dinosaurs I had when I was eight. The diction is concise and written towards the younger reader. Following a bat that gets sent to a rescue shelter, the story revolves around his introduction to different species of his genus, and the daughter of the rather over-exuberant parents who unintentionally injure it causing her to become a volunteer at the veterinarian’s clinic. Through the two (more the bat than the girl – the bat is written less ‘scientifically) the reader is propelled into the wonderful and exotic world of bats. It whets your appetite and has further reading for both the younger and older reader in the back is a nice touch. The educational quality of this book cannot be understated.
The artwork in Science Comics: Bats is also unique. Blending an Eisner-like cartoonish approach with biological artwork, Bats details the differences between different species. It’s not so cartoonish to be dismissed by the older reader but accessible to the younger ones. The panelation flows well, and aside from one or two oddly placed speech bubbles, is quite easy to follow. The linework is well done, and inking is as equally deft. Overall the artwork compliments the writing and almost keeps the story flowing. This is rare, but Koch pulls it off with elegance. The backgrounds suit the characterization, and all in all, this truly represents Eisner’s educational comics point in Comics and Sequential Art.
I can’t do anything but recommend this book for anyone even remotely interested in bats. The educational content is enough, as said, to whet your appetite and point you in the right direction for further reading. Aimed at a younger audience, however, and this really is their playground. Like that copy of Dinosaurs I had in my youth, this book would have spurned my interest in chiropterology rather than herpetology (although I still think snakes and giant lizards are cool). Science Comics: Bats is a must buy that might spurn an interest in these wonderful and mysterious creatures.