Bats what friends are for by Renee Treml

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This is the fourth installment in The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea series (It's Owl Good, Squeals on Wheels, Wise Quackers), a sensational graphic novel series for young, independent readers or for readalouds. It will appeal to fans of the Duck, Duck, Porcupine series by Salina Yoon, the Elephant and Piggie series and Renee Treml's other graphic series, Sherlock Bones. While accessible to a younger audience, its content and format will be equally appealing and relevant to an older age group. 

Ollie the owl is looking for his friend Bea, but instead he finds a bat called Kimmee. Before long they are firm friends, the relationship aided greatly by Kimmee's love of jokes and Owl's quiet confidence. But when Bea the bunny finally finds them he is little jealous that Ollie has a great new friend. Is it possible for them all to be friends?

Children will love the jokes and puns that come thick and fast and the story told exclusively through sharp, fast-paced dialogue. Renee Treml's (Sleep tight, Platypupfull-colour illustrations are crisp, clear and sparse with a superb focus on the changing emotions of Ollie, Bea and Kimmee. 

This is such a wonderful read that explores the real problems children have within friendship partnerships and groups and the trepidation that comes with making new friends. There is a beautiful dialogue between Kimmee and Ollie about how hard it is to make new friends, but then Ollie points out that Kimmee told him a joke and that is how they became friends. They talk openly about their feelings and the characteristics of themselves and each other. It's a beautifully honest look at those emotions that most kids have but many find it tricky to talk about. It also models wonderfully positive and uplifting ways to be a friend (and the fun of friendships) without glossing over the times when it is hard or uncomfortable.

Themes: Friendship.

Nicole Nelson