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A Boy Called Bat #2

Bat and the Waiting Game

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In the tradition of Clementine and Ramona Quimby, meet Bat. Author Elana K. Arnold returns with another irresistible story of friendship in this widely acclaimed series starring an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world — even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor.

When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons, Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends, and Bat wants everything to go back to normal.

He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance...

208 pages, ebook

First published March 27, 2018

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About the author

Elana K. Arnold

24 books932 followers

ELANA K. ARNOLD writes books for and about children and teens. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing/Fiction from the University of California, Davis where she has taught Creative Writing and Adolescent Literature. Her most recent YA novel, DAMSEL, is a Printz Honor book, Her 2017 novel, WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her middle grade novel, A BOY CALLED BAT, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. A parent and educator living in Huntington Beach, California, Elana is a frequent speaker at schools, libraries, and writers’ conferences. Currently, Elana is the caretaker of seven pets, only three of which have fur. Sign up for her newsletter here: https://elanakarnold.us10.list-manage...

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5 stars
481 (43%)
4 stars
446 (40%)
3 stars
155 (14%)
2 stars
9 (<1%)
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7 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 156 reviews
Profile Image for Alex.
146 reviews3 followers
July 20, 2017
Sequel lives up to the first book. Bat's feelings are so real, and the whole cast of characters feels like a hug.
Profile Image for Michele Quirke.
Author 2 books121 followers
June 24, 2022
After reading "A Boy Called Bat" together, my son (age 8) and I were both eager to read the second installment and see what new adventure was in store for Bat and Thor.

This story is super sweet and I love how even though Bat is accurately depicted as a boy with autism, that is never the focus of his story. Some of Bat's behaviors had my son asking questions and I was grateful for the opportunity to teach him more about autism. Not only is this a cute read, but it provided a unique experience to help teach my son compassion and understanding. Speaking of compassion and understanding, I think my personal favorite character is Israel. He is so sweet! I even got a little teary-eyed when Israel gave Bat the clay skunk!

Now, enough about my thoughts. As an author myself, I try to teach my son the importance of leaving reviews for books we read. Therefore, I think it's fun to let him choose the star rating and share his thoughts. So without further ado, here's what my eight year old son thought of "Bat and the Waiting Game":
"I liked when the skunk sprayed during Janie's play because it was funny. But I kind of felt bad for her. And I liked when Bat's friend, Israel, forgave Bat for yelling at him for saying, "That's a stupid question!" But he also knew that it wasn't stupid because he said it to himself every day. This book should have five stars. I loved it! By: Greg, the kid of the family."
Profile Image for Lorie Barber.
557 reviews36 followers
October 6, 2017
I really can’t wait for the third one, and this one’s not even out yet. A realistic portrait of autism and its effects on family and friends, told with care and in a positive light. Bat is relatable and funny and I will pull for him always.
Profile Image for Steven R. McEvoy.
2,946 reviews97 followers
May 20, 2020
Last year my youngest child came home from school raving about the first book in this series, A Boy Called Bat. They had read it in the last week of school in grade 3, and it was an instant favorite. When she found out it was the first of a series, she was ecstatic, and wanted us to add it to our summer reading list. Last year we read book 1 and now we have finished book 2 and started book three.

Bat, Bixby Alexander Tam is a little different than many other kinds. In fact, he goes to a different school than his sister, in order to have some extra help. In the first volume Bat’s mom came home with a baby skunk kit that was just born that day, Bat knows that they belong together. In that first volume Bat negotiated keeping the Kit until it was ready to be released. In that story he makes a close friend, Israel.

In this story. Bat is getting more and more anxious. As the time is drawing near to having to say good-bye to Thor the skunk. After conflict with both Israel and his sister, Bat sneaks Thor into opening night of his sisters play. It was a big mistake. Soon Bat realized that he needs to make thinks up to both Israel and to his sister. But to pull it off he is going to need a lot of help. And he is just learning to ask for help when he needs it.

Bat continues to struggle; he sees the world in a very literal way. His interactions with others, even his family are often difficult and often overly blunt. But because of his interactions with the Kit, Bat’s edges had been softening a bit.

This was another fun read. It helped my children understand a few of their classmates more. It does a great job representing the struggle some people have. And The illustrations are fun. All three of us give it a big thumbs up!

Our Ratings:
9 year old – 5/5 Stars
12 year old 4/5 Stars
50 year old 5/5 Stars

And we are looking forward to reading the next book in the series. And we hope that there will be more books to come!

Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More.
1,052 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2022
My 5 year old gave this second book in the series 5 stars again, probably 4.5 stars for me. A sweet story again showing life from Bat’s perspective, and also showing him grow in his relationships, making mistakes, and fixing them.
Profile Image for Maximilian Lee.
450 reviews1 follower
July 22, 2018
I kind of liked this book because it was slowly paced. I also didn't like this book because the events in the book were very..... well...... "not exciting events" and I like action and adventure. So...... I didn't really like it because of that too. For example, the whole book was basically Bat having troubles with his sister talking about her play and when it finally does come he messes it up. He messes it up by his pet skunk spraying.
Profile Image for Kristen Harvey.
1,885 reviews262 followers
March 24, 2019
I just love Bat, he reminds me of a few of my students and I just love his attachment for Thor, the baby skunk. It's rare to find such a great book written from a POV of autism and getting it quite spot on (from what I can tell). I love his interactions with other characters and I have to give his big sister Janie some applause for always trying her best to include him and forgive him when needed.
Profile Image for Kristen Picone.
14 reviews4 followers
January 14, 2018
I love A Boy Called BAT and have been eager to read BAT and the Waiting Game. I was lucky enough to get and ARC at NCTE and am grateful I did. Another dose of BAT and the Tam family is just what I needed. BAT continues to take care of Thor, the skunk kit that he is allowed to keep until it can be released into the wild. His love for Thor is fierce and Thor being a “toddler” now comes with a new set of challenges. In this book, the readers experiences the difficulty that BAT has as he tries to navigate his first real friendship with Israel. Janie, his sister, being part of a class play also brings about some challenges for BAT, who has a hard time with changes to his routine.

Elena K. Arnold was able to write a sequel that warmed my heart as much as the first. This book gently sheds light on the needs of a child with autism and helps readers see that BAT’s struggles are very similar to many other kids his age. I’m already eager for the 3rd book, but I’m sad thinking about BAT having to say goodbye to Thor one day.
Profile Image for Anna.
276 reviews8 followers
March 29, 2018
Another sweet story about Bat and his beloved skunk. I appreciated how Bat came to be more aware of other people's feelings and learned that he can't always have Thor with him. Good development with his friendship with Israel too.

However, I do wish there had been some resolution to the question of how long Thor will be around and how Bat will cope when he isn't.
Profile Image for Niki.
1,077 reviews9 followers
November 2, 2018
Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed BAT) is back with his baby skunk, Thor, for another round of adventures! Just like the first in the series, Bat and the Waiting Game is a sweet, charming novel that accurately portrays a main character with ASD (although is perhaps a little light on how his actions impacts those around him).

A delightful second novel and I look forward to the third. I definitely recommend this book for school and classroom libraries serving grades 2-5 and as a read aloud in those grades, as well, after reading the first, of course!
Profile Image for Rachel.
388 reviews
March 7, 2022
Another great book in this series. It’s a very sweet story. I liked seeing Bat navigate new friendships and situations. I really liked how Bat made things right with his sister by doing something for her instead of apologizing. And mostly I loved how his autism and autistic traits are quietly woven throughout the book.
Profile Image for Susan Morris.
1,205 reviews12 followers
August 27, 2018
2nd book in the series is another heartwarming story of an autistic boy, Bat, and his adventures with his baby pet skunk. Shows realistically the struggles Bat has to understand other people’s feelings. Would be a great read-aloud! (Library)
Profile Image for Christine Sokomba.
177 reviews4 followers
January 16, 2023
This was another great book in the trilogy. My son (8) has really enjoyed these books and is preemptively upset that there's only one more. I love that we get up close with a young boy with autism, watching him in his relationships with family, making friends and learning about his skunk kit. This really is a sweet series!
Profile Image for Sage.
28 reviews1 follower
June 6, 2020
It is so good, it's probably better than the first one, in fact it is. Also the pictures are really fun and cute.
316 reviews19 followers
February 22, 2022
What a good book. Autism was shown is such a positive light. I need to read the first book.
Profile Image for Marcel.
109 reviews
April 3, 2022
Nicht ganz so flott wie Teil 1, aber weiterhin unterhaltsam, geeignet ab 8 Jahren
Profile Image for Jody Holford.
Author 41 books605 followers
April 13, 2019
What a great follow up. I loved the simplicity of the timeline...the author wasn't trying to wrap up the next few years of Bat's life...it was just an extension of a great story and I loved seeing Bat's growth in terms of friendships and relationships.
Profile Image for Leo.
390 reviews6 followers
January 12, 2022
Note: I am an autistic/ADHD person with my husband and son also being autistic/ADHD.

I know I'm going to get flack for this review. I REALLY wanted to like this book. I really liked the first one, and felt is did a nice portrayal of an autistic boy and his relationship with his family, making a friend, and his comforting interest of animals. This book as well had the same themes, continued the story well, and was well written with gorgeous illustrations.

But what happened? Did this book not have sensitivity readers like the first one did?

I noticed little things wiggle in, like how Bat began to panic when he was missing tools to set up the playpen for his skunk, Thor. His self-soothing was making a noise and rolling on his feet, however, his mom rather wanted to hold him till he stoped. He even stated he DIDN'T want to be held. This was portrayed in the book as a good thing he stopped those behaviours and let his mum hold him. Please DO NOT do this to a person who is self-soothing! Bat was safe and keeping himself calm, and just because it was by making a noise and rolling on his feet, did not make it any less valid than the way an allistic (not autistic) person would self sooth. DO NOT RESTRAIN an autistic person! Your hugs may be well intended but they are restraining to us if we don't want them!!

The final straw that made me so upset was the final scene. Bat's apologising to his sister while looking at her toes - they are painted with beautiful stars on them - he doesn't look her in the eyes. But Bat's sister uses her finger to force Bat's head up and to make him look into her eyes. Bat states he DOSN'T like looking into peoples eyes, but he knew it made his sister feel happy so he did anyway for her sake. This is portrayed as some great moment, complete with an illustration of Bat's sister doing this, as if it's some great breakthrough and touching moment. No, it is not. This is full on, the absolute worse thing you could ever do to an autistic person.

Do not ever, EVER make us look into your eyes if we do not want to. You do not have any idea the amount of mental or physical torture this is, despite it being an easy thing for an allistic person. It may not seem that big of a deal for you, and that I am over-reacting, but it honestly is abuse. It reeks of ABA (a common 'treatment' for autistm that us autistic folk are against) and wanting the autistic person to cater to the allistic folk around them - when we spend EVERY SECOND of our lives doing that anyway. So for once, allistic folk, change your expectations and cater to us for once and let us look at your toes. This was not a great moment. This was horrible. It ruined and spoiled the whole book for me, and I will not be reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Melanie Dulaney.
1,292 reviews57 followers
January 17, 2018
Bat, short for Bixby Alexander Tam, has trouble with crowds, change and a host of little things that don’t generally bother most people. But he has a baby skunk, too, and that’s a pretty terrific thing that most other people don’t have. Elana Arnold brings a short, easy to read story about a special young man who is on the autism spectrum and yet manages to raise the abandoned kit while also making a best friend, connecting
with his dad at a baseball game, and figuring out how to apologize to his sister when he makes a big mistake. Readers in grades 2-4 will enjoy this book and the simple, clear black and white illustrations as they hopefully learn a little about autism and a few lessons on friendship and offering a sincere, active apology. I do wish that Arnold had mentioned that Bat was autistic much earlier in the book. Not everyone has read book 1 and kids will not realize the reasons for his quirky habits and might just decide that he’s simply odd and not catch Janey’s friend’s offhand comment about Bat’s diagnosis. (Review based on DRC from Edelweiss Plus)
Profile Image for Brittany.
1,012 reviews17 followers
December 28, 2017
I adore Bat and his pet skunk and all of his quirks and mistakes and attempts at understanding the world around him. On the spectrum or not, the societal norms that Bat struggles with (like apologizing and being a good friend) are lessons we can all benefit from relearning again. This is such a great series and one that would be an easy recommendation for those making the leap from chapter books to fiction and those looking for a "clean" or "mild" read. I am quite certain this is not the last we'll see of Bat and for that I am grateful.
1,758 reviews16 followers
December 6, 2017
This book is just as good as the first at providing readers with the perspective of a child with autism. Bat's story is a great choice for younger advanced readers.
Profile Image for Pop Bop.
2,443 reviews99 followers
January 1, 2018
Low-key and Upbeat

This is the second Bat, (Bixby Alexander Tam), book and a fine entry in the series. The "hook", if you want to call it that, is that Bat is on the autism spectrum, and we follow his daily adventures from his point of view. This series is often compared to book sets that feature antic or hyper characters - Clementine, Ramona, and so on - which I think gives a false sense of the feel of the series. Bat is quiet and thoughtful and observant, and the insights Bat shares and the action in which he engages are also low-key and mild.

I think it's important to emphasize that these aren't "problem" books that have been written just to teach people about autism or otherwise to illustrate or educate about autism. That is an aspect of the book because that is an important element of Bat's life and character, but these books have a much larger appeal. Bat is a smart, good kid going through the process of growing up. He deals with family, friends, school, frustration, making mistakes, and so on, just like everyone else. The lessons he learns are relatable to any kid reader.

That said, these also aren't just dry lesson books. Bat is funny and engaging. His family is supportive and his friends are appealing. The emphasis on pets and little critters adds appeal. The situations Bat finds himself in can be silly or even slapstick, but they are just right for young readers, and Bat's adventures, while mild, are easy and fun for new readers to follow. I suspect they would recognize themselves in these characters and relate to their adventures in a rewarding and entertaining fashion. (The two dozen or so black and white drawings help in that regard, since they nicely illustrate, frame and enhance the story.)

The upshot, for me, is that the Bat books introduce an appealing kid character in a kid friendly package that's aimed at a tough to serve early-reader crowd. Add in their heart and humor and that's a winner to me.

(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
663 reviews77 followers
August 31, 2018
Bat is a boy with a big heart and when a baby skunk comes into his life, he throws everything into caring for little Thor. He has to learn how to balance his love for this little charge and his love for his family, which can be a challenging thing, as Bat finds out. Despite personal challenges involved with having autism, Bat does learn some important lessons about friendship, love, and loyalty. The portrayal of autism in this book seems to be quite accurate and the author does a good job showing Bat's weaknesses as well as strengths.

Read if You Like:
- Stories that feature animal orphans.
- Good portrayals of people with unusual challenges.

Don't Read if You Dislike:
- Characters who act as if they've read a bunch of psychology books - while it can be helpful to learn different ways to help people with autistic challenges from character demonstration, sometimes the characters seemed a bit wooden in their responses to Bat and it came across heavy-handed.
- Plots void of much action - there's a not a lot going on in this book. Even the skunk parts are very limited.

Personal Thoughts:
This was an easy, smoothly flowing read. The pleasantness and evenness, however, was a bit too much at times and I couldn't help but be bored. The plot also seemed pretty flimsy to me. Not a lot of depth here.

Possible Objectionable Content:
There was no content that seemed inappropriate for children.

Recommended for children: 3
My personal rating: 2
Objectionable content: 0
11 reviews
April 2, 2018
Having a pet is not easy. You get used to having it around all the time. But you get to a point in your life where you can no longer take care of it. Being autistic means noticing everything and not everyone agrees with the things that you agree on. Bixby goes for the nickname Bat! His skunk the pet needs him one specific day, and he worries that something will happen to him or others around him. Janie his sister is about to perform one of the most important musicals of her life and nothing and no one can ruin it. As long as Bat keeps his skunk in his place everything should be fine.
1. Why do you think Bat carries a skunk with him?
2. What would you do if you sneaked in your favorite smelly pet in a musical?
3. Discuss some definitions of Bats Autism, and ways to help our friends that are?
4. Why should we not overreact when someone with a disability makes an accident?
5. What are some ways that we can accept others the way they are?
Arnold, E. K., & Santoso, C. (2018). Bat and the waiting game. New York, NY: Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Profile Image for Johannah A Classy Rebel Reader.
237 reviews1 follower
March 15, 2021
“Bat and the Waiting Game,” by Elana K. Arnold, Bat’s skunk journey continues, as he tries to navigate new friends and major life changes. Bat’s sister, Janie has landed a role in the school play, now she can’t watch Bat after school. Bat must go to his friend Israel’s place and someone else gets to watch the baby skunk, Thor. Bat is so frustrated with the change and can’t wait for things to go back to normal.

(Book 83 of 100) The second book in the Bat series was just as well written as the first book. This story does a great job of dealing with change and making new friends. I love the different titles for each chapter and the adorable artwork. I give this book a 5/5-star rating. I recommend this book for third grade and up.

#BatAndTheWaitingGame #ABoyCalledBat #ElanaKArnold #100BooksInOneYear #Imaclassyrebelreader #lookatmyclassyrebelread #Children #MiddleGrade #RealisticFiction #Animals #Skunks #DrJerryDragoo #TheMightySkunkKitThor #AStinkyPerformance #NeverYellSkunkAtASchoolPlay
Displaying 1 - 30 of 156 reviews

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