CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 2 . . . . September 14, 2007
Once again, the Bat Gang, Sam and Simon, find themselves involved in a crime. Working at the local mall as Santa's elves for some holiday money is definitely not a dream job. Their boss is a disgruntled college student, Santa is nasty, foul-mouthed and dislikes kids, and the elf costume is completely embarrassing, especially when girls from their class spot the boys in the food court over lunch. When Sam and Simon discover some of the missing toys from the donation box planted in their locker, they realize that they will have to find the culprit themselves to clear their names.
Jingle Bats is the third title in Sharon Jennings's “Bat” series. The Christmas setting may not have as much appeal to the readers as the Halloween graveyard setting in the second novel, Bats in the Graveyard. However, the inclusion of teenage characters with realistic issues, such as part time jobs and girlfriends, will appeal to the older readers. As a HIP-Jr book, Jingle Bats is designed for the reluctant reader with a lower reading level. The story is fast paced and includes several end-of-chapter cliffhangers to keep the reader involved. Controlled vocabulary and realistic dialogue further engage the reluctant reader. The black and white drawings by Kalle Malloy provide picture support but seem a bit juvenile for readers in grade six or above.
The Teacher's Guide by language arts consultant Lori Jamison provides teaching suggestions on using Jingle Bats for independent or guided reading as well as for literature circles. Lesson plans including student learning tasks are also provided. This useful guide will assist classroom and resource teachers as well as English as an Additional Language (EAL) instructors in insuring that this novel will be a successful, engaging reading experience to hook middle grade readers.
Janice Foster is a teacher-librarian at Henry G. Izatt Middle School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.