Children's Literature - Marilyn CourtotIsabel is learning about report cards and what the categories mean. Isabel is so enthralled that she even creates a report card for her pet cat. Also, she is convinced that she will get a sterling report since she is such a good student. However, on the day she gets her report card, Isabel remembers that her teacher had spoken to her several times about whispering and other little problems. Now Isabel is not so sure that she will get a good report card, so she stuffs it behind the seat in the school bus. Her parents write a letter to the teacher but that also gets stuffed behind the seat. Eventually, the bus driver finds the report card and letter and Isabel learns that her fears were for naughtshe has received a good-news report card. While the story is entertaining, it also creates some ambivalence in this reviewer's mind, since what Isabel does with her report card and her parents' note is wrong. Other than suffering a bit of guilt, she really is not punished for her action. When the report card finally does surface everyone celebrates the good news and the incident is glossed over.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 1-3-Isabel Bloom is ferociously eager for her parents to receive only the best possible news about her school performance. As her teacher explains the common report-card words ("excellent," satisfactory," "needs improvement," etc.), Isabel pictures her parents jumping for joy. But her overconfidence turns to dismay as she imagines what her teacher might say, and by the time the sealed evaluations are ready to be sent home, the frightened child makes a drastic and desperate decision. Poydar weaves an entertaining, suspenseful, and ultimately affecting tale. Her illustrations are straightforward and colorful, and are particularly successful in communicating children's emotions. The story underscores the tensions inherent in the evaluation system. Adults may want to think carefully about their own feelings regarding report cards before sharing this tale. It might, on the other hand, be an excellent discussion-starter. Isabel is a character who's easy to relate to and root for.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsIsabel's class is about to get report cards, and Isabel is so excited that she gets distracted. She whispers instead of listening, forgets to put her name on her paper and then gets caught trying to fix her mistake. At the end of the day, report cards are handed out, but Isabel is no longer happy about it. She's sure that her report card will say that she needs improvement, so she tucks it behind her seat in the bus. She tells her parents she's lost it, and they write her a note, which she tucks behind the same seat the next day. By the time Isabel realizes the error of her ways, the report card and note are gone, and she is called to the principal's office. The principal gives her the card back, and once Isabel sees it, she's overjoyed. She's happy to show her parents that she's received "good" for everything except imagination-for that she's "excellent." Gouache-and-pencil illustrations accompany Isabel's story and perfectly reflect her worry and excitement. (Picture book. 4-8)
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