The Bat-Poet is a big-sized small-person's book, or maybe a small-sized big-person's book. It's a sweet story of a bat who can't sleep, who squints and listens and tries to put daytime into words. His poems are distractingly good — author Randall Jarrell (1914-1965) was US Poet Laureate before the post had that title. As my favorite character, the mockingbird says of one bat-verse, "Technically it's quite accomplished. The way you change the rhyme-scheme's particularly effective. ... And it was clever of you to have that last line two feet short." Yep, the bird's a critic, and comically hypersensitive about his own work. Maurice Sendak's gentle, realistic illustrations frame the fantasy nicely. Like many poems, The Bat-Poet doesn't really go anywhere. It's a delightful journey.

^z - 2012-08-20