One morning, before the store was open, I found myself going to our children’s department. Coming out of the elevator, our sale book display assaulted my eyes with colors and their flashy hollering of “Read me!” But the one that won my reading time was a black covered book about a bat called Rufus.
The signature style of writing and illustrations of Tomi Ungerer tell you what you need to know about this book. But I know you might need/want more.
As the title says, Rufus: The Bat Who Loved Colors, is a bat who loves color. He learned this by flying one night and coming across a drive-in movie. Being curious about colors, instead of heading off to sleep in the cave, one morning he goes off and explores all the lovely colors of the world beyond the cave. He is amazed that the world is not just the black of the night. But this makes him sad. His all blackness is not good enough. But he has a solution. A solution that causes a problem bigger than expected!
First published in the early 1960’s in German, Rufus is a story about being yourself. And, even though it was one of the first books on the subject, it feels like it was written today. Which might make you think it would make me dislike it as it is just another book in the sea of books about being true to yourself. However, there is enough humor and a freshness to it that has endeared it to me.
Even though the tad unrealness of the story (a bat painting themselves the colors of the rainbow, having to take medication for the headache the sun gives him) can be a bit off-putting at first, it does smooth itself out, because the same humor that makes it a bit bumpy is what smooths itself out as well. This is a fun contradiction. And Rufus is a fun book for anytime. It could be for Halloween, for fall, or even for a nifty bonus fiction story about bats if studying bats. Mostly aimed at ages 3 or 4 to about 7 or 8 (the older child could read for themselves), the adult will get a kick out Rufus as well.