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BAT and the Waiting Game

In this second book (of three) Bat is becoming more attached to Thor, and his sister, Janie, is even starting to warm up to the baby skunk. When Janie gets cast in her school play, Bat’s schedule changes, which means someone else has to care for Thor afterschool. While Bat does not love the new change, it provides an opportunity for him to build a strong relationship with his new friend Israel. All Bat has to do is make it through the night of Janie’s performance…

Animal Welfare Considerations:

  • While BAT and his family had good intentions, Thor is a wild animal and should have been taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center where he could have received the care he needed. In fact, in Alberta taking a skunk, or any wildlife, in as a pet is illegal according to Section 55(1) of the Wildlife Act, unless you have a permit to do so. Skunks, along with bats and raccoons, are also a species capable of spreading rabies, which precludes them from being kept as pets in Alberta.
  • Students are able to interact with the rabbit in Mr. Grayson’s classroom whenever they want. Rabbits have fragile spines and it is important to know how to pick up and hold a rabbit safety and to ensure safety, children should be supervised while interacting with animals. It’s also important to respect that rabbits may not want to be handled frequently by different people. Teachers can establish rules and routines that guide safe and respectful interactions with classroom animals require. Visit our section on classroom animals for things to consider if you have a class pet

Why use this book?

  • Highlights the strong connection and relationships people have with their animals, known as the human-animal bond.
  • Showcases a main character who is on the autism spectrum in a realistic and positive manner.
  • Showcased the importance of empathy and the understanding of difference in both animals and people.

Ask your students:

Chapters 1-5

  • Bat is now allowed to have Thor sleep in his room (in his own enclosure). Do you think this is a good idea? Explain.
  • When he is getting teased by Ezra, Bat decided to take deep breaths, bounce on the balls of his feet, and wiggle his shoulders. Why did Bat do this?
  • Bat and Israel friendship is starting to grow. If you could give Bat and Israel advice on how to strengthen their friendship, what would you say?
  • How do you think Bat will feel leading up to letting Thor go into the wild?

Chapters 6-10

  • Was feeding Babycakes, without Mr. Grayson’s permission, the right thing for Bat to do? What are some problems that could arise if all the students fed Babycakes when they wanted?
  • Are there any foods for rabbits or other pets that are unhealthy?
  • Bat’s afterschool schedule has to change because Janie’s play rehearsal. Do you think the solution is fair to Bat and to Janie? Why or why not?
  • Bat and his mom have a special relationship. When Bat is upset his mom knows how to help Bat feel better. Do you have someone (people or pets!) who can help you feel better? How can you help people feel better when they are upset?

Chapters 11-15

  • Bananafish is a card game unique to Bat’s family. Bat and Janie have a tradition of playing it since they were little. Do you have any unique traditions with your family? Why are traditions like these important?
  • Why does Bat’s Dad like taking Bat to baseball games, even though Bat doesn’t enjoy them?
  • Why does Bat kind of wish Thor still needed to be bottle fed? What does it mean now that Thor can eat solid food?

Chapters 16-20

  • Why do you think Bat feels lonely at the beginning of Chapter 16?
  • Maggie has 14 pets? How big of a responsibility would it be to have that many pets?
  • Why does Israel think Bat did not like him? If you were Israel would you think the same?
  • What trick did Bat and Israel teach Thor? Do you think it is a good idea to teach Thor tricks? Explain?
  • Why did Bat get upset when Israel asked when Thor will get released?

Chapters 21-24

  • If you were Bat, would you have brought Thor to Janie’s play? Why or why not? How did Bat’s decision impact Janie? The audience? Thor?
  • Why do you think Bat had trouble sleeping after the incident?
  • How did Janie react to the incident the next morning? What is another way she could have handled herself?
  • Bat wanted to ‘disappear’. What did he mean by this?
  • Why did Israel comfort Bat, even though he was still mad at Bat?
  • Do you agree with Mr. Grayson’s saying ‘What we do is more important than what we say’? Why or why not?
  • How did Bat make it up to Janie for ruining her play? If you were Bat, what would you have done?
  • Bat brings the clay skunk Israel made him to Janie’s make-up performance. What would be some of the reasons for doing this?


  • Comparing Rabbits and Skunks – Have students list the similarities between a pet rabbit and wild skunk using a Venn diagram.
  • Not all foods are healthy! – Bat feeds Mr. Grayson’s pet rabbit. However, not all foods that are healthy for us are healthy for our pets. Pick a pet and learn more about what foods are unhealthy or toxic and create an informational poster!
  • Apology Accepted? – Bat bringing Thor to Janie’s play did not go as planned. Bat felt terrible for ruining his sister’s play. Ask students, if you were Bat, what would you do in that situation? Have students write a short paragraph giving a detailed description of how they would apologize to Janie.
  • Predict (part 1) – As the books progress Bat and Thor are becoming increasingly attached to each other. On a scrap piece of paper, have students answer the following question: Do you think Thor will be released by the end of the series? Why or why not. Collect all the predictions in a jar or box to be read after you are finished the series.

Additional Resources Related to Book:

  • For BAT and the Waiting Game Educator’s Resources click here.
  • For more information on what it is like being on the autism spectrum watch this Living with Autism video
  • For additional information on classroom animals click here.
  • For additional information on how to hold a rabbit visit the RSPCA website.


Elana K. Arnold, 2018


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