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LITTLE RAT SETS SAIL by Monica Bang-Campbell


by Monica Bang-Campbell & illustrated by Molly Bang

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-15-216297-6
Publisher: Harcourt

Little Rat’s parents have signed her up for sailing lessons, but she doesn’t want to learn to sail; in fact, she doesn’t even want to get wet. She perseveres through a whole summer of sailing lessons in this beginning chapter book, a first effort from Bang-Campbell (who is an accomplished sailor herself), with illustrations provided by her mother, Caldecott Honor artist Bang (Tiger’s Fall, 2001, etc.). Little Rat is joined in sailing class by a menagerie of assorted animals, including a raccoon that is even more timid and nervous, providing Little Rat an opportunity to help someone else. Lots of sailing terms are introduced, with some terms defined within the text, some through one labeled illustration, and a few just thrown out and never defined (e.g., the unexplained use of the word lines for ropes, which will confuse anyone who hasn’t sailed before, especially first graders who draw lines and get in lines for recess). But never mind, Little Rat is a brave little sailor with her own shy appeal and Bang’s charming illustrations are impossible to resist. This story, the first in a series, will be popular in areas where sailboats rule the seas. Let’s hope Little Rat learns to swim in the next offering, as those who go down to the sea to sail should really learn to swim first. (Easy reader. 5-8)