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When Bat arrives on the scene, the young animals are convinced she’s mad. After all, even a baby elephant knows an umbrella is for keeping your head dry not your feet, and any lion cub can tell you that when the river rises it’s your toes and not your ears that get wet. It takes some gentle interrogation from Wise Owl, some arboreal acrobatics on the part of baby elephant, giraffe calf and the rest of the menagerie, plus a spot of page, or rather book turning from the reader to reveal that bat’s not mad; she just has a different way of looking at things.
Readers old enough to ‘twig’ the mismatch in perception between bat and the others before being confronted with the pages of upside down print will revel in the sustained joke with the author, while the sight of elephant, giraffe, rhino and lion cub dangling upside down from a tree appeals to everyone’s sense of the ridiculous.
And those of us yoga enthusiasts who value and practise headstands as a way of seeing the world from a different perspective, of bringing clarity to the mind, will readily appreciate Bat’s point of view.