A Balloon for Isabel

What It Is

Isabel is a porcupine about to graduate from preschool and is quite upset that all her animal classmates will get balloons except for the porcupines, who will get bookmarks. When teacher Ms. Quill, also a porcupine as the name hints, explains that “balloons plus porcupines equal trouble,” Isabel won’t take no for an answer. So she begins her quest to find a solution that would allow her to have a balloon. Possible solutions are strapping pillows on her head and wrapping a fellow porcupine in bubble wrap. Needless to say, these don’t work. The resourceful little porcupine scores big when she “pop-proofs” herself and her friends by sticking gumdrops on each quill. Now ALL the “kids” on graduation day will receive balloons, even Ms. Quill herself!

Why It’s Fun

Deborah Underwood gives us a very creative and humorous tale of a determined little “girl.” Laura Rankin brings the hilarity of the story to life with both beautiful and colorful illustrations. There’s lots to laugh at in this book, such as fellow porcupine Walter, whose dad owns a candy shop but longs for Isabel’s broccoli instead of his all-confection lunch. The laughs continue with fantastic drawings of Isabel, Walter and their poked pillows, and poor Walter’s bubble wrap being popped by the other animals. The fun builds to the book’s end when Isabel triumphantly leaps into class with her “pop-proofed” head of gumdrops. Ms. Quill realizes that balloons for the porcupines are in order and can’t resist pop-proofing her own spines to enjoy a balloon herself.

Who’s Going To Love It

As parents know, when children want something, they will often stop at nothing until they get it. Parents and kids will instantly empathize with Isabel’s disappointment and all will cheer her along while laughing throughout her mission. The publisher’s recommended ages are 3-7 and all kids in the age range would enjoy this story because of its humor, fantastic illustrations and charm. With its graduation theme, the book makes a great “end-of-school-year” gift.

Reading Time

About 3-4 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

10 out of 10

Book Information

A Balloon for Isabel
By: Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Laura Rankin
Published by: Greenwillow Books, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (2010)
Approximate retail price: $16.99 (hardcover)

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