New York : Eos, 2007
IL 5-8, RL 5.0
the Paleocene epoch, 65 million years ago, the last dinosaurs are dying
out and the Earth’s mammals are living in a time of dramatic upheaval.
Dusk lives in a colony of chiropters or tree gliders on an island. Because
they cannot fly, they are ridiculed and tormented by the birds that live
in the upper treetops. Both species despise and distrust each other but
in order to survive they stay out of each other’s way and remain in their
own area of the trees.
Since his birth Dusk has always been different. His body is more compact and his chest is broad and heavy. And his sails have no fur on them. Normally he would have been shunned by the colony, but because his father is the leader he is tolerated by the group. As long as he doesn’t do anything foolish. And the one thing that would cause him the most trouble is the one thing he feels compelled to do. Fly. Like a bird. But he would have to do in secret. Normally chiropters would glide down from branch to branch and then climb up the trunk. But Dusk was too heavy and climbing was cumbersome and exhausting. So he learned how to catch the thermals (rising air) to lift him to the higher branches. The older members of the colony looked at it with scorn but the youngsters took to it with zeal. In fact, it lifted them to the treetops - the territory of the birds. Dusk and his sister Sylph were riding the thermals when this huge shadow blotted his vision of the sky. When he looked at it he saw something he’d never seen before. It was huge. It had a long crested head and jagged wings that spanned forty feet. And its wings had no feathers. It was falling right towards them and as it closed in he saw a long beak, or jaws with one wing collapsed and the other snapping ferociously. He quickly called to the colony to get out of the way. As the thing thundered over him he was sucked into the turbulence, head over tail. He tried to stop himself, but collided with the creature’s leathery tail and crashed into the trees, digging in with his claws to hold on. The creature was tangled in the branches directly above him and he noticed there was no light behind the creature’s huge black eyes. He looked it over carefully and saw that it’s wings looked a bit like his own furless sails. It had no feathers, yet it flew.
What could this thing possibly be? His father had an answer. And it was one that sent shivers through the whole colony. But this threat was nothing compared to the new animals from the mainland that were evolving into the most lethal carnivores of all. (Rhode Island Teen Book Awards, 2008-09)
Bats -- Fiction.
Prehistoric animals -- Fiction.
Survival -- Fiction.