"Batula" Book Review
Written by Steven T. Seagle
Illustrated by Marco Cinello
2012, 48 Pages, Fiction
Book released on August 7th, 2012
Livingston is a kind fruit bat, but no one really notices him in his colony. He's pretty plain and doesn't stand out. All of that changes when he ventures too far into the city and gets bitten by Vlad the vampire bat. Now Livingston has strange urges and he no longer craves fruit. What's he to do? He becomes Batula, a local hero.
If this sounds a little childish, you're right. Batula is a kids book. Written by Steven T. Seagle, the story is one of acceptance and tolerance. It reminds me a bit too much of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer though. Both Rudolph and Livingston are outcasts. Granted, the bat doesn't endure nearly the kind of torment that the reindeer goes through, but both are basically worthless until the other characters have a need for them. Whether it's a foggy night or a colony under attack, past transgressions are quickly forgotten when the popular kids want something. Yes, I'm somewhat bitter and I'm reviewing a children's book.
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Regardless, Batula is pretty fun. It's carefree, which helps a great deal. While Vlad is dangerous, he isn't killing people. He just wants to knock people around and maybe bite them. Livingston doesn't have a purpose at first and struggles to find out where he fits in. It isn't until he's turned into a vampire that he finds his place as the defender of the colony. See kids? You can do anything if you just try...or get bitten by a vampire bat.
Batula shines in the illustrations from Marco Cinello. Each page has a full color image that really pops. Cinello has a talent for color. This world is vibrant and full of life. It makes Livingston's transformation into Batula stand out as he's so much darker than anything around him. Despite this, he never looks evil. There's still a sense of innocence in his eyes that turns into honor and fortitude when he completes his training and goes to rescue his colony.
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If you've got a kid that digs vampires, Batula is a fun book to read to them. The pictures are well done and the story is a good one without being too scary. Vlad is a little creepy but not in the "He's going to eat me" way. It's more of the "This guy hasn't bathed in at least a week and he might breath on me" way. Good thing Batula is here to put a stop to him.
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