cover image Bella Gets Her Skates on

Bella Gets Her Skates on

Ian Whybrow. ABRAMS, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-9416-4

This tale of learning to try new things embraces the idea that having a positive outlook is more than half the battle. Unlike her speedy and fastidious older rabbit siblings, cautious Bella is less than eager to tackle the challenge of ice skating. Daddy Rabbit, who nicknames her ""Little Baby Not Sure,"" is always quick to comfort her, but doubts remain. (""She only had little legs. What if she couldn't keep up?"") But a series of self-esteem boosters on the way to the lake slowly increase her confidence, and after the pivotal moment when Bella steps onto the frozen lake, she slips, slides, but ultimately skates across a double spread, her father completely out of sight. Whybrow's (the Harry and the Dinosaurs books) gentle text never dismisses Bella's worries, but the steady stream of parental reassurance helps them seem less daunting, while Reeve's (Delilah D. at the Library) fuzzy pastels amplify the bunnies' cozy familial tenderness, creating an ever-cheery world of snow drifts and hot chocolate. Ably using scant lines for down-turned eyebrows and a frown, Reeve delivers a very honest portrait of a tentative tot-but in such a sugarcoated setting, there's never any doubt that Bella will eventually join the happy crowd on the ice. Ages 3-8.