Underwood, Deborah. A Balloon for Isabel. Illustrated by Laura Rankin. Book Review.

Click here to buy A Balloon for Isabel

This book starts with a great hook. Isabel and Walter, two little porcupines, are protesting an unfairness done to them two days before graduation. Because they are covered in quills, Isabel and Walter will not be presented with balloons. They are tired of receiving bookmarks. (The skunks, raccoons, mice, foxes, and other characters appear to be kindergarten age.)

Walter and Isabel attempt several strategies to change the teacher’s mind. The teacher is also a porcupine and has logical reasons why they should not be given balloons. Walter and Isabel refuse to give up their dream. They discuss the special characteristics of balloons and why they each want one so badly. After several failed attempts, Walter and Isabel succeed and are rewarded with the longed for red and green balloons.

Many children will identify with Isabel. It is deeply frustrating to be told you can’t have something because you’re different than everyone else. Isabel and Walter’s determination, problem-solving, and creative thinking are inspiring. The happy ending is well earned.

Laura Rankings illustrations are bright and charming. Readers will laugh at the porcupine’s expressions and their attempts to become pop – proof.

Highly recommended.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

2 thoughts on “Underwood, Deborah. A Balloon for Isabel. Illustrated by Laura Rankin. Book Review.

  1. Give me balloons and I’m pretty happy, as would these little porcupines🙂 Such a problem! Just recently I read a book in which the porcupine, who loves to hug, has to figure out how to hug without hurting her friends.

    Thanks, Bonnie!

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