From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-Inspired by a boyhood photo of her father on horseback, Little Rat decides to take up riding, but quickly discovers that new skills do not come easily. She must overcome her initial fear of her mount ("This was not a horse. This was a mountain on four legs"), but soon learns to appreciate Pee Wee's mild nature. Frustrated and frightened after suffering a fall, she is coaxed back into the saddle by her teacher. When Pee Wee accidentally steps on Little Rat's foot and it puffs up "like a blowfish," she takes it in stride and works hard to prepare for an upcoming horse show. Her newfound confidence comes in handy during an encounter with a bully who had been bothering her from the get-go. Finally, although the show isn't a perfect experience, Little Rat has a great day and looks forward to continuing her lessons. Presented in eight brief chapters, the simple text flows smoothly; the language is clear but never dull. Bang-Campbell skillfully captures a young child's perspective, honestly describing her heroine's ups and downs as she takes on a new challenge, and highlighting the self-assurance that comes with success. Done in pencil, gouache, and watercolor, the vibrant illustrations add detail to the narrative and reflect its emotional content. There is a lot of humor in the pictures, as the tiny rat interacts with her giant yellow horse, but also a lot of genuine affection.Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
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Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. After conquering her fear of boating in Little Rat Sets Sail
(2002), the plucky young rodent tackles horseback riding. Yearning to be a "fancy rider like her dad," Little Rat decides to take lessons, but her first experiences in the ring are rocky. She is afraid of her huge horse and of Chrissy, the menacing barnyard "bully goat." After bravely enduring a fall, an injury, and confrontations with Chrissy, Little Rat competes in her first horse show. Even though it doesn't turn out as she had hoped, she is proud of her accomplishments. Bang-Campbell, illustrator Molly Bang's daughter, tells a simple story about conquering fears in lively words and smooth language that's well paced for beginning chapter-book readers. Bang's charming, action-filled art includes oddly proportioned scenes of tiny Little Rat riding a huge horse--images that may reflect many children's view of a world in which they, too, are surrounded by people and things much larger than themselves. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved