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ISABEL OF THE WHALES by Hester Velmans


by Hester Velmans

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 12th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-73202-3
Publisher: Delacorte

Fantasy and reality merge in this aquatic coming-of-age adventure with a compelling ecological message. When her 5th-grade class goes on a whale watch, 11-year-old Isabel falls overboard as a congregation of whales surrounds the boat. Instead of drowning, Isabel finds herself very much alive as she morphs into a whale. Adopted by a pod of humpbacks, Isabel discovers she is their “Chosen One” who “will stay long enough to learn, and to fulfill her task.” Initially, Isabel misses her human family, but gradually the ocean becomes home. The whales teach her underwater survival as they migrate from North Pole to equator. In return, Isabel engineers some lifesaving tricks of her own. But after a year, Isabel must make a wrenching choice between land and sea. To Velmans’s credit, the improbable seems probable through the eyes and voice of her down-to-earth heroine. Watch out Little Mermaid, here comes Isabel. (notes, drawings) (Fiction. 8-12)