A Balloon for Isabel
written by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Laura Rankin
(Greenwillow Books) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library
Poor Isabel. The other animals get balloons on special occasions, but since she is a porcupine, she and her porcupine friends have to make do with a bookmark. Graduation Day is approaching and Isabel and Walter lobby their teacher, Mrs.Quill, for the right to have a balloon. Their teacher is steadfast, proclaiming balloons to be unsafe. Isabel and Walter unsuccessfully try several ideas, to the reader's amusement, to show Mrs. Quill that it would be okay to give the porcupines a balloon. It's not until the day before graduation that Isabel hits upon a fantastic idea that saves the day.
Several of our K-1 classes are currently learning about story elements and A Balloon for Isabel would be a wonderful text to use in teaching. The characters and humor will engage students and the setting is quite familiar to younger readers. It would be interesting to list student ideas on how to solve the problem of the porcupines. I've also found that fairness is always a theme that will generate discussion at any age. The surprise at the end will also have students using the text to be able to infer what is going to happen. With cheerful illustrations and an enjoyable text, A Balloon for Isabel was a hit in our room.
Other reviews of A Balloon for Isabel:
Kid's Book Blog
Great Kid Books