FICTION

Nocturnal Symphony: A Bat Detector’s Journal

North Star Editions. (Science Squad: Bk. 2). Sept. 2019. 192p. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781631633003.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3-5–Many youngsters may think of science as something that’s done in school or in laboratories; with its emphasis on citizen science, this series does much to dispel this notion. Brubeck Farrell has just finished her sixth grade as a member of her school’s Science Squad. Over the summer, she and her friends T.K. and Laura are tracking bats in their Wisconsin hometown and encountering problems with old, outdated bat detection equipment. They’d like to buy new devices, but their fundraising efforts are a comedy of errors—and Brubeck fears that Laura is losing interest in the project as a result. Brubeck also wants to convince her mother to marry Ginger, her long-term girlfriend, an endeavor that isn’t seeing much more success. But when Ginger shows an interest in the bat project, it turns out she might be the one to solve both of Brubeck’s problems. The text is peppered with information on bat populations and the challenges scientists (professional and citizen alike) face in identifying them. Back matter includes information on echolocation, bat detection, and conservation. But the real standout is the relationship between Brubeck and Ginger, which is a well-drawn portrait of a stepparent becoming involved in her stepchild’s interests.
VERDICT A skillful blend of realistic middle grade fiction and scientific facts; a recommended addition to school libraries and classrooms.

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