cover image The Officers' Ball

The Officers' Ball

Wong Herbert Yee / Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $14.

An invitation to the Officers' Ball sends Sergeant Hippo to the studio of Madame Lafeet for some quick dance lessons in this sweet rhyming story of perseverance and self-confidence. While his official dance instruction results in lots of ""struggling to learn the fandango"" and stomping on other dancers' hooves, Sergeant Hippo finds time to fit some creative dance practice into his daily police beat. He directs traffic to three-quarter time and, after rushing a pregnant rabbit to the maternity ward, waltzes with a broom in the waiting room. When the big evening arrives, Sergeant Hippo musters the courage to dance with Officer Mole, and the two trip the light fantastic. Yee's (Fireman Small; Eek! There's a Mouse in the House) lighthearted tale handily tackles the feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy that most children--and adults--experience at one time or another. His soft and cheery watercolors are liberally sprinkled with humorous, expressive animals, including a duck driving a car, a dapper canine TV reporter and a penguin parking attendant. He creates a jolly world that readers will happily believe in. Ages 2-7. (Mar.)