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Isabel of the Whales

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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  388 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Eleven-year-old Isabel is a " plain old" girl living in Provincetown, Massachusetts, who believes that she is destined to accomplish something special. When her fifth-grade class goes on a whale-watch field trip, something amazing happens: Dozens of different species of whales surround the boat, bumping the deck and sending Isabel flying into the ocean. Isabel is shocked t ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 12th 2005 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published 2005)
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Jonathan Peto
If you know a child interested in whales and/or the ocean, this book may be for them, especially if they do not mind an 11 year old girl protagonist and if they might enjoy mixing their ecological concerns with fantasy.

In the first chapter, when the main character, Isabel, was playing Truth or Dare with her friends Molly and Kristen, I really wondered if my son was going to let me read the entire book aloud. We made it, but I’m not so sure he would have on his own. There’s adventure, but a lot o
...more
Rachel
Magical and thought-provoking. Like Lee Welles' Way of Water from the Gaia Girls' series, this uses an imaginative approach to introduce and address issues of humanity's destruction of the seas. Isabel shapechanges into a whale and we get to experience, firsthand, the beauty and dangers of that life. The whales need protectors like Isabel, like Sea Shepherd, and this beautiful book will sweetly, tearfully recruit them, the whale warriors living in the hearts of compassionate, animal-loving child ...more
Charmayne
So I took this from my younger brother's bookshelf a few days ago and read it on a whim!

I wish the author had made Isabel a little older. It's ridiculous to have a relationship (with a whale) when you're eleven, and then hear the freaking whale love song of your life, AND then go on to have a human boyfriend when you're fourteen. Couldn't you have made her at least sixteen in the prologue, Hester Velmans? :( (I understand that there's a follow-up to this book, called Jessaloup's Song, but it jus
...more
Dayna Smith
11-year-old Isabel falls off a boat on a whale watching field trip and instead of drowning turns into a humpback whale. Her whale guide, Onijonah, explains that she is one of a select few humans who are turned into whales for a short period of time, sort of a whale exchange student program. She travels with the whales and eventually has to decide whether to stay with them or return to her human form. A cute, if predictable, story.
Isabel
I Looooved this boook soooo much! i read it in the beginng of the 6th grade.The reason i got this book was because my name happens to be Isabel and i im tottaly in love (obssed) with Whales! i read it it was VERY good i liked itt i would recomend it to a younger readers maybe 5-6 graders a little cheesy i would admit but yes loved it!!
Kitty
I'm pretty sure I've re-re-andre-re-read it. This was a very important book for me, as it is what made me want to read more, and thus started my love of reading. The characters are extremely loveable, I recommend this book to anyone starting to get into chapter books
Julia
I read this in 3rd grade, so I don't remember much. But I do remember reading it over, and over, and over!
Christine
One of my favourite books. Very cute story about whales and their journey with a girl.
Hrandall
A favorite of mine, "Isabel of the Whales" is a typical story about an "average girl" who discovers she has magical powers and whatnot. However, I must say that, for another "magical girl" story, "Isabel" is wonderfully new and fresh, and it shines in its own dazzling way.
Most, if not all, the characters were well-developed, lovable, and most of all, memorable! The concept may be unheard of and weirdly unique, but it is nicely executed. A heartwarming storyline, beloved characters, and a relati
...more
Tze Min
I remember I read this years ago, and the story and characters still remain strongly in my memory.

I loved how all the interaction between Isabel and the whales, how they were learning from each other. We get to understand much more about the impacts of whaling, and the plot was really touching. The story ended with us wanting for more. I haven't read the second book yet, but I'm currently hunting around for it. Borrowing it just doesn't seem enough.

Isabel of the Whales was the one book that caus
...more
Carla Peele
A beautiful and pure fantasy for all ages, I only recently discovered this book, and, I have to say I almost could not put it down! Not only is the fantasy part lovely in its imagery, but, the technical facts about the sea creatures are informative and amazing. Any author would be proud to call this tome her own, and, Ms. Velmans should be congratulated. I only hope that one day this is made into a movie of the Disney/Pixar type. It would be an instant classic, not like those forgettable straigh ...more
Jenna
I was attracted to this book ever since my days of working in the Children's section at a bookstore. One of the cover blurbs got to me, "Watch out Little Mermaid, here comes Isabel."

Isabel is an eleven-year-old girl that loves whales so much. Then one day she falls off a boat and gets to be one. She is considered a "mermaid" by the humpback whales (that call themselves "sirens"), which is a human that becomes a whale.

I recommend this book to an eleven-year-old girl that loves whales so much she
...more
julia
I was a little disappointed in this book. It's really more of an "all you ever wanted to know about whales but were afraid to ask" told through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl who actually turns into a whale (that's on the back cover so it's not a spoiler). It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very engaging for me. It was more about telling us how whales live and how awful whale-hunters are than about the girl and her relationships with her whale pod. An easy read, though.
Emilie
Good book, strange concept. But I think so often we want authors to try a new or totally different idea. Then when we come across one we label it as 'weird'. This was one of those. Isabel loves whales. When her class goes whale watching field trip she's ecstatic. But what we'll happen when she falls overboard and doesn't come back up? What is going on beneath the surface of the water? I liked this book. Definetly a simpler read.
Monet
This book I picked up in Baltimore when I realized that day that I would love the underwater world forever, whales particularly. I had no idea if the book would even interest me long enough, but I've must of re-read it a million time since then. The beautiful images of the author's new world made me feel that I lived through Isabel with her adventures.
Michelle
This is the first chapter book i ever read,this book is amazing especially if you love the sea and animals, the ending made me cry however, but now matter what this will always be one of my favorite books:)I wish they made some kind of sequel to it still today, it would be so great.
Alice
Though I think that this is aimed at 10 and below I read it as a *ahem* 12 year-old (at which point you think you are extremely superior to the 'little kids') and still enjoyed it very much...loved it, actually. The story is so clever, and written very originally. xx
Imari
I read this when I was about 12 or 13 and so I didn't see much of a problem with her being in love with a whale at 11 (though in retrospect it kind of reminds of Stockholm's Syndrome). It was a good read, seeing as it reminded you that others have feelings.
Isabel
Read this book when I was little loved it.
Izzy
I've read this book twice now, and this second time it wasn't what I remembered. I liked it ALOT more now then I had when I was younger. Makes me want to go out and help Whales like right now!
Skylar
This book is all about this girl who is the special one that turns into a whale. She cant go back to human until she learns how to be a whale. She makes friends and finds love. READ THIS BOOK NOW!!!
Shannon
Jan 05, 2008 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adults & Older
Recommended to Shannon by: My youngest daughter.
This book was very intriguing. One of my daughters bought me this book at their school book fair for Mother's Day. It will always be a very special book to me. It was different, but very good.
Boto
I LOVE this book. I got it when I visited the Boston Aquarium, four years ago. I love the relationship between Jessaloup and Isabel and the whole world of the whales is amazing. I love it!
Deanna
i thought it was interesting how she lived the life of a whale. how the author would have to study the behavior of a whale. that struck me as both time consuming and fun!
Julia Seymour
I read this book a littel while ago, and it was pretty Boring. And it didnt really have a good plot. I would reccomend it to some one who does like fiction.
Holly
A good book for those who love romance (including those hopeless romantics like me!), and of course anyone who loves whales will enjoy this book. :)
Lunabell
This book is truly one of the best books I've read. It really sweeps you away into the story, and makes you want to cry when it ends.
Celia
LOVE this book!
The way its written is great. And the ending is good to.
Great read, and I am looking forward to reading the sequel!

Kendie
This is my favorite book in ths world. I read this book in 3rd grade for a book report. I recomend this book to anybody.
Cassandra
Jul 14, 2008 Cassandra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Cassandra by: me, myself, and I
You shouldn't judge people by what they look like or who they hang out with. In other words, don't judge a book by it's cover.
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349971
I make my living translating modern novels (French, Dutch into English), but my real love is reserved for writing my own brand of fiction. I have two books for children out: Isabel of the Whales (Delacorte/Yearling) and the recent follow-up, Jessaloup's Song (vanHorton). I also read everything I can get my hands on. I live in Western Massachusetts with my husband Peter, my dog Ruby and a few thous ...more
More about Hester Velmans...
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