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Isabel of the Whales

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  543 ratings  ·  85 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 to ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Yearling (first published 2005)
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  543 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Jonathan Peto
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pagan-parenting
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
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nora Wilcox
To call this book strong, poetic, or uplifting feels right. That is why I rated this book five stars. The main character Isabel is the girl that loves the ocean and so do I, so it really gave me a connection with her and the book. Also, Isabel is a girl that isn't afraid to show how she feels and that makes my day. Isabel goes through many hardships but she get through them with or without friends. This piece of writing is very persuasive and powerful. For example, during one time of the book Is ...more
Dayna Smith
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-shelf
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.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is my favorite book ever! It makes me cry everytime I don't know why! I've read it 5 times and I can't get enough!
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!!
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
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
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, recomend
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
Christine Tran
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
One of my favourite books. Very cute story about whales and their journey with a girl.
Pisces Chic
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful novel! Love how they call her a Mermaid! Enjoyed the romance between Isabel and Jessaloup! :)
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this in 3rd grade, so I don't remember much. But I do remember reading it over, and over, and over!
Tze Min
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
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
Carla Peele
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I so badly wish I read this when I was younger; it would have been one of those books that moved me and I would forever love. It's a very cute and moving story. The author also does a great job of making you feel even more sympathetic towards sea life, specifically whales. I really enjoyed this :)
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Tifanny Pulido
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this book when I was in middle school and absolutely loving it! I used to re read it a lot. I wish to find this book again to refresh my memory and re-live all those emotions it gave me! <3
Jul 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a teen fiction person. I actually picked this book up in 4th grade I think a couple years ago. But I remember feeling warm and happy when it was over, and wanting it to have a sequel. It's an amazing children's book which every child should read.
Jingle ❀彡
I read this years ago as a child, and was completely hooked onto it. The ending still remains in my mind (it's sad, by the way) and I'll just say that this is a book for anyone who loves being taken to another world and is interested in ocean life.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A great book, gives you lots of info about whales without realizing it, plus believable characters and sturdy plot.
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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. :)
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!!!
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Isabel of the Whales is a great book to read
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I make my living translating modern novels (French, Dutch into English), but my real love is reserved for writing my own brand of fiction. My latest is a historical novel, SLIPPER, which tells the story of Cinderella as if she had been a real-life historical character in the 17th century who meets the original author of the fairy tales, the little-known Charles Perrault. My two books for children ...more
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