Monika Bang-Campbell, , illus. by Molly Bang. . Harcourt, $14 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-15-216297-9

This mother-daughter team presents a chipper early chapter book starring a likable young rodent whose parents sign her up for sailing lessons. Little Rat is hardly happy about this: "She was scared of the water./ She was scared of falling in./ She was scared of falling in/ even with her life jacket on." From the start, an ill wind blows; her life jacket is a different style from everyone else's, she is terrified of sailing solo in the prams that look like bathtubs ("…how could a bathtub possibly float?") and she knows that in the dark ocean lurk jellyfish, slimy eels and "big icky blobs of seaweed." Little Rat's amiable instructor, Buzzy Bear, comes to her rescue, inviting her to sail with him in a larger boat while he teaches her sailing terms and tactics. Readers learn right along with her, and a carefully labeled sailboat helps aspiring sailors get their bearings. Predictably, the more the heroine learns, the less she fears, and on the last day of sailing class the diminutive sailor proclaims herself "a brave Little Rat" who just might sail solo next summer. Buoyant and brightly hued, Caldecott Honor artist Bang's (When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry…) pictures subtly convey the growing confidence of this endearing heroine. A breezy junket for aspiring skippers and confirmed landlubbers alike. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)