Author: Ari Berk
Illustrator: Loren Long
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Audience: Ages 4-8
Summary: Little Chiro flies out of the bat cave on his own for the first time, his mother letting him go with advice to find his way by good sense. At first he is frightened and disoriented, but then he remembers his mother’s bright words and begins to sing. His song guides him as he spends the night by the pond, eats his fill, explores farther over the ocean, and then returns to the bat cave and his mother at sunrise.
Literary elements at work in Story: The metaphor of song as an expression and realization of identity as well as the way a young bat uses sound waves to fly and maneuver without seeing is beautifully layered in this gentle story. The metaphor of song is even connected to the other aspects of the natural world around Chiro—the trees, waves, the flying geese, and even the rising sun who sings and lulls him to sleep. Visual illustrations seem to perfectly enhance and even “echo” the time of day, physical surroundings and emotions of Chiro’s experience thus further contributing this lovely story.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story?: The story of a young bat transcends boundaries of race/culture/economics. Even Chiro’s (“little wing’s) gender is not emphasized or even evident until personal pronouns are used on the second page.
Theological conversation partners: The world is big, dark and beautiful, and when we explore it in confidence, trusting the song (or identity) that we have been given as loved and created by God and part of God’s story, we navigate without fear are able to see loveliness.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Where does Chiro’s mother direct him to go?
- What bright words of his mother’s does Chiro remember when he is frightened?
- What does Chiro hear singing back when he sings?
- Why does Chiro continue on beyond the pond and explore the ocean too?
- What does Chiro mean that he could see everything?
This review is written by Union Presbyterian Seminary Alum Anne Rankowitz
Nightsong by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.