My daughter received this book as a gift when she was just 4. As a child who loves language and animals, she was thrilled with the lilting lyric poetry and the tale of a bat caught in the tourist-filled dining room. The main character "strange Melissa" is appealing in its originality, sensitivity and all too rare celebration of a female heroine. Any observant and intuitive child would find her an especially sympathetic character. That being said, in my opinion, the poetry is the reason we return to the book again and again. Crescent Dragonwagon has distinguished herself with her flowing verse that is not only sophisticated but delightful to the ear. We consider it on par with David Kirk (of Miss Spider fame) and Dr. Seuss. Enjoy!