Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: Designs by Isabelle

American Girl: Isabelle #2

Designs by Isabelle by Laurence Yep


I love the Nutcracker. It's a great story and a perfect setting for a dancing school. Isabelle and her cast-mates are brave for doing this production. It was interesting to see the different things Jade and Isabelle struggled with.


This was a great read, would be better around Thanksgiving. I have one issue...there is a scene where Isabelle talks about giving Tutu pepperoni from their pizza. That is a big NO NO! The spices that go into making the pepperoni and pizza sauce can cause kidney damage in cats and dogs. No garlic or onion for our furry friends.


Only a blink of Luisa. I really want to know more about her. Overall, I liked seeing how Isabelle and the others prepared for a big production. 


This is a fun story. Isabelle helps those around her in many different ways - everyone from the adults to the smaller kids. She gets help from them too. She is very thoughtful.


I can't imagine having to crawl across a stage under a skirt while wearing my own bulky costume. I have a new appreciation for what performers go through. It was so exciting for Isabelle to really meet... Oops! Almost gave a spoiler. This is a good read.


Designs By Isabelle (Isabelle, #2)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one better than the first. Here the self doubt and nervousness sounded more genuine and was better placed. Detractors will note a few of the plot points to be unlikely or unrealistic, but there are cases where true talent in young people is recognized and appreciated by adults so I feel they were okay. If you have read the book and are not sure what I mean, then those plot points set well with you too.

At the end of the first book, Jade and Isabelle (and many of Isabelle's friends or classmates) are cast in The Nutcracker. This book focuses on the rehearsals and time leading up to the big day as well as the first big performance of the holiday season. We get to see Isabelle battle her inner demons with help from the adults involved with the performance.

It is interesting that the first book focuses on daily life at school and here (except for a math quiz) we only see the rehearsals for the Nutcracker. Are they working on this at school? Instead of school? In addition to regular school classes and dance classes?

The secondary and tertiary characters are very flat. I really want more from and of the best friend, Luisa. She is a best friend and could be very well rounded and more present than she is.

The trickle down advice is really great. Isabelle is not afraid to take advice from the other people in her life including the adults. She takes their help to heart and even uses it to help others. Very impressive and very mature. Like Jackie...I give Isabelle a thumbs up.

Isabelle's love of dance and design provide a depth of skill and interest that will help her later in life. She is very talented and if something should happen to her dance career, she has a great fallback option.

Good book two. On to book Three.

Best wishes and happy reading!

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