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A Balloon for Isabel Hardcover – April 27, 2010


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Hardcover, April 27, 2010
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 510L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061779873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061779879
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2—On graduation day, every animal will receive a balloon—except for Isabel and Walter, because their quills don't mix well with inflatables. Their teacher promises them each a special graduation bookmark, but the young porcupines long for balloons. Iris sets out to design the perfect apparatus to shield their quills, and after several tries, she finds the perfect solution. Illustrations full of color and personality add to the story's depth and appeal. Authentic dialogue, a touch of humor, and Isabel's ingenious invention make this tale of desire and determination a keeper.—Amanda Moss Struckmeyer, Middleton Public Library, WI
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In a cheerful school of possums, raccoons, and other woodland creatures, porcupines are left out on graduation day. While everyone else gets a bright, buoyant balloon to hold, the porcupines get bookmarks. A porcupine named Isabel tries to get around this school rule with her friend Walter, but their teacher, Ms. Quill, stands firm; a popped balloon might scare someone. Rankin's animal illustrations are wonderfully expressive and make the most of Isabel and Walter's comically doomed efforts: wearing a quill-covering box (but then you can't get through doorways), strapping pillows onto each other (but quills shred pillows), and wrapping Walter in packing bubbles (“But the other kids tried to pop him”). On the night before graduation, Isabel sees the solution in a bowl of gum drops. Isabel bursts through the classroom door, her face glowing and each of her quills topped with colorful beadlike objects. Her porcupine pals happily adopt her look, and the final page reveals Ms. Quill, a grown-up porcupine, in all her gumdrop glory. Underwood's story is entertainingly told and sweetly satisfying. Preschool-Grade 1. --Abby Nolan

More About the Author

Deborah Underwood grew up in Walla Walla, Washington. When she was little, she wanted to be an astronomer. Then she wanted to be a singer. Then she wanted to be a writer. Today her jobs are writing and singing. Two out of three's not bad! (Okay, she also wanted to work in a piano factory and paste the labels on new pianos, but let's just ignore that one.)

Her dad was a math professor, and her mom taught English. Her sister got all the math brains, but some of her mom's word sense rubbed off on her, thank goodness. After college, she moved to San Francisco and became a street musician. Then she worked in an office typing memos for accountants. When the accountants weren't looking, she wrote screenplays. She found that if she glowered at the computer screen and yelled, "Criminy!" once in a while, everyone thought she was typing a very demanding memo and left her alone.

In 2001, Deborah decided to start writing stories for kids. She also began writing children's nonfiction. When a publisher asks her to write a nonfiction book, she usually doesn't know much about the topic. That means she has to learn fast. Now she knows about lots of cool things, like smallpox and orangutans and Easter Island and whether or not it's okay to slurp your noodles in Japan (it is).

When she's not writing, you might find her singing in a chamber choir, playing a ukulele (very badly), walking around in Golden Gate Park, baking vegan cookies, or petting any dogs, cats, pigs, or turkeys that happen to be nearby.

Customer Reviews

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This is a cute book that I bought for my daughter Isabel.
Leilani
She writes lovely simple sentences, and each one advances the story.
Amazon Customer
Every time I say "we can wear goggles" it makes her laugh.
ilovetoshop

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne on July 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have never taken time out to write a review but had to do it for this book. It's beaufully illustrated and colorful (the animals' facial expressions are expertly drawn to look very much like those of small children), I would not be surprised if it won a Caldecott medal this year.

This is an adorable story about a porcupine who wants a balloon of her own. (Balloons are given out to all the animals - except the porcupines - at graduation in their school.) Isabel is given several reasons why they cannot have one. After each reason, she counter argues, and tests several solutions, persistently trying to achieve her goals. Ultimately she arrrives at a solution that persuades her teacher to hand out balloons to all the porcupines. The teacher, a porcupine herself, is even delighted to choose her own balloon at the end of the story.

Particularly noteworthy is that this is a story in which the main character is a female who works patiently and persistently until she achieves her goals (unlike all the popular stories about dim-witted, passive princesses who do nothing to solve their own problems). My 4 year old wants to read it again & again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on September 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Balloon for Isabel is simply a wonderful book.

This is one of the few books for children that I instantly loved. After each page you just want to turn the next one because you absolutely want to know. I could not wait to share this delightful and fun story with my girls to see their reactions.

It was a complete success, they loved it. It always makes me happy when it is the chosen book of the evening. I enjoy reading it again and again and my girls enjoy hearing it again and again. Every time we get excited, Isabel just makes us think, smile and laugh and every time we talk about a different aspect of the story. The children can easily relate to the characters and the story.

The text is beautifully written, fun and the twist at the end is priceless.
The illustrations are happy and beautiful. They go so well with the story.

This is a must-have book and a must-offer book.

Thank you Deborah and Laura for your beautiful book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doug in Davis on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I donated a copy of "A Balloon for Isabel" to a local school library. The librarian reported "I read it to a first grade class today and had two students ask me if they could check it out. I'm sure it will be popular with lots of the kids when I introduce it more widely."

The happy outcome for Isabel ought to encourage children to keep searching for solutions to problems even when their first attempts don't work out. The sweet solution will delight everyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a really lovely and touching story about Isabel, a porcupine who longs for a balloon. Obviously porcupines tend to pop balloons so Isabel can't have one. Can you imagine the longing for something that you are never allowed to have, but which everybody else loves? Isabel tries various solutions until ... well obviously you should read the story. It's certainly a happy ending but there's a subtle twist which just makes this tale complete for me.

I have to declare an interest since I am the author's (Deborah Underwood's) brother in law. This means I have known the book for some time, but on rereading it I was surprised how moving I found it to read. It is a privilege because our children (her nieces) get to act as story consultants, and they are are always excited when something new comes to try out!

The illustrations by Laura Rankin complement the story perfectly. Somebody more knowledgeable could describe how and why that's so, but they just seem to fit the story.

The thing I love about Deborah's writing in general and very definitely in this one is it's beautiful but deceptive simplicity. She writes lovely simple sentences, and each one advances the story. So it will be great for reading aloud, and also for children in their early reading years to read to themselves. But when you look carefully there's not a word out of place, and you can't see how any sentence could be improved. I guess the best way I can think to say it is that she knows that her readers have great imaginations, so she doesn't need to spell everything out. Coupled with Deborah's writing, beautiful illustrations, and a child's imagination, you can't go wrong.

As I write, Deborah is fifth in the New York Times bestseller list with "The Quiet Book.' It might be heresy, but I think I might go for A Balloon for Isabel instead. And if you can't choose, just go for both!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne E. Brady on January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The best part is the pages where Isabelle and the teacher have a rational discourse about whether or not balloons are safe. (Teacher says a popped balloon might hit you in the eye; Isabelle says "We could wear goggles") My daughter, three years old, and I take turns roll playing each part. The illustrations are clear enough to help her remember which argument to make next. And when the teacher finally declares "That is enough!" we both burst out laughing and begin again, switching roles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A Balloon for Isabel is a terrific book for young readers. The story has loveable, anthropomorphic characters and a charming plot. Our graduating porcupines want balloons for graduation, but balloons plus porcupines spell trouble. Isabel and Walter search for a solution to their problem so that the porcupines can get balloons like all of the other animals well. Phooey on consolation bookmarks.

Children will enjoy the book's ending, especially the very last page. Balloon for Isabel is a gem not to be missed.
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