From Publishers Weekly
The heroine of this jaunty poem is no stranger to adversity: she quickly and calmly dispatches a variety of threatening figures, to the strains of Nash's vivacious comic cadences. ("She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up. / Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.") As depicted by the ever-wacky Marshall, Isabel is rotund, bespectacled and absolutely unflappable, with a quiet grin of self-satisfaction. Her colorful wardrobe includes such incongruities as roller skates (lifted from an easily done-in witch) and Birkenstock sandals. The villains here are a hilariously horrible lot, from a toothy, neon-green witch to a hairy, one-eyed giant to a doctor whose every pore radiates untrustworthiness. Beneath its droll humor, this fine lark of a book contains a sound bit of advice for banishing terrors real and imagined: "Don't scream when the bugaboo says 'Boo!' / Just look it in the eye and say, 'Boo to you!' " Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 2–5—In this newly illustrated edition of the well-known poem, a young girl courageously faces a series of dangers. When threatened by a bear, "Isabel, Isabel didn't worry,/Isabel didn't scream or scurry"—instead, she eats the bear. She also consumes a witch, decapitates a giant, and defeats an evil doctor. This book lacks two stanzas that appear in the version illustrated by James Marshall (Little, Brown, 1991; o.p.), which suggest that the foes that Isabel faces are all in her dreams. There is no such consolation here. Isabel is so unflappable that readers are not sure which is more menacing, the girl or the monsters. Taylor's bright watercolor illustrations are well suited to the text. The protagonist, dressed in polka-dot shorts, sometimes looks innocent, but at other times impish. Each encounter with a formidable creature takes place in a different setting, and Isabel pilots herself around in a small airplane or a power boat, always accompanied by her dog. The illustrations are full of color and action. It's interesting to hear Nash's voice on the accompanying CD, but his reading lacks drama. The poem is likely to delight children who are comfortable with books that have a certain level of gruesome humor, such as Keith Graves's Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance (Chronicle, 1999).—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
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