An inspirational lap-reader that teaches the merits of doggedly pursuing a dream.
Bella, a dedicated young basset hound, yearns to become a ballerina in her animal-populated world, and she is determined to persist until she becomes a star. When she attends the dog ballet with her family, she’s immediately smitten, but everyone tells her that only Borzois are agile enough to dance–certainly not a full-figured basset like herself. â€œ â€˜You mean I’m supposed to stay on the farm, chasing and digging?’ ” she asks in despair. â€œ â€˜Of course. The farm is where you belong,’ ” replies her mother. Nevertheless, Bella learns the craft of the ballerina, then travels to the â€œBig City” and works until she gets her big break. More read-aloud rather than read-along, due to the elevated vocabulary (â€œjowls,” â€œimperious,” â€œbrayed,” â€œhaunches,” â€œagility”), the text emphasizes various consonants, especially â€œb,” guiding children to focus on those sounds in the context of a charming story. Sokolova’s active, whimsical illustrations provide opportunities for children to recognize a wide range of animals and to spend time exploring the drawings for their many interesting details. Both the story and the drawings are energetic and exciting for pre-reading children, with parental help.
Fun and useful. (Fiction, 3-6)