From School Library Journal
Grade 1–3—Little Rat comes from a musical family and wants to learn an instrument of her own. After hearing other kids playing melodious notes on the violin, she is determined to do the same. To play the violin well, however, requires a lot of practice. With the help of Kitty, a tutor, Little Rat begins to make beautiful music. Kids will be able to relate to Little Rat's impatience with practicing and find many moments humorous. The jewel-toned watercolor-and-gouache artwork will help keep readers engaged. A realistic and meaningful look at the satisfying results of hard work and perseverance.—Erika Qualls, Ela Area Public Library District, Lake Zurich, IL
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* "In the third easy-reader collaboration from this mother-daughter team (Little Rat Sets Sail, rev. 7/02; Little Rat Rides, rev. 5/04), the small, determined heroine takes on a new challenge: violin lessons. Of course, Little Rat's dream of making beautiful music on the first try is quickly dashed. Her teacher (a stern-faced rabbit wearing a pince nez and Birkenstocks) hears some potential, but Little Rat avoids practicing because it's "BORING." When Kitty, an older student, tutors her, Little Rat starts to improve, finally buckling down when she's given a chance to take part in a recital. Bang-Campbell's text is divided into eight short chapters and sets a matter-of-fact tone that allows her flashes of humor to shine more brightly. For the most part, the text is upstaged by Bang's stunning illustrations, which go way beyond the obligatory visual clues needed for an early reader. Deep jewel-toned colors provide a rich counterpart to the homely settings and the drabness of the rats' fur. Both text and art make seemingly incongruous situations (such as a small rat cleaning a huge litter box) completely believable by treating their subjects with respect. Bang's spot-on visual representation of music is worth special note, particularly the scratchy beginner sounds Little Rat makes on her violin, shown as a jumble of dark jagged lines. In the end, Little Rat discovers the joy of making real music while the reader basks in an elegantly orchestrated mother-daughter duet." (starred review) (The Horn Book Magazine