BELLA BASSET BALLERINA by Laura Aimee; Illus. by Valerie Sokolova Garn


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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. “ ‘You mean I’m supposed to stay on the farm, chasing and digging?’ ” she asks in despair. “ ‘Of course. The farm is where you belong,’ ” replies her mother. Nevertheless, Bella learns the craft of the ballerina, then travels to the “Big City” and works until she gets her big break. More read-aloud rather than read-along, due to the elevated vocabulary (“jowls,” “imperious,” “brayed,” “haunches,” “agility”), the text emphasizes various consonants, especially “b,” 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)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-9759378-0-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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