Isabelle and the Miracle Baby

Isabelle and the Miracle Baby

Emily Smith Pearce

Underneath Isabel’s fits-and-starts temper lies a need for attention.

It’s been four months, but Isabel still hates her baby sister Rebekah, who gets all the attention and all the love. Now her mother has forbidden Isabel to play with her friend Tara, who Mama says is a bad influence. Meanwhile Isabel is terrified that Mama will get cancer again, but they never talk about it. Isabel’s anger toward Mama is growing more and more fierce. Just as Isabel is about to make some new friends at school, Mama pushes her to befriend Ben, a boy whose mother is struggling with cancer. When Mama’s plan threatens her new friendships, Isabel can’t hold back her feelings any longer.

  • Ages: 11 and up
  • Grades: 5 and up
  • Pages: 238

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Recent Reviews

7 Learning how to share her mother with the baby and with the sick ladies (her mother's cancer support group), much less how to gain some optimism, Isabel realizes that adults as well as kids can grow from their mistakes.

—Publishers Weekly

Pearce truly understands how a young child views the world and conveys Isabel's thoughts and frustrations with compassion. A fine debut.

—Kirkus Reviews

This story, told from the eight-year-old’s point of view, perfectly captures her fierce desire to be independent and to disobey her mother’s rules while still wanting to be held and cuddled like her new sister. Isabel is a real girl who sometimes laughs at the mistakes of her classmates and says hurtful things. Her better nature is revealed when she reluctantly helps a new boy in her class. Pearce gets into the mind and soul of a child who would forgo her conscience and do and say nearly anything to belong to the pack of pink-and-purple girls. That struggle is what sets this book apart from the dozens of others with the new-sibling theme.

—School Library Journal

This debut novel is no sweet story of sibling rivalry. While avoiding heavy messages, Pearce manages to make the drama at home and school compelling. She also stays true to the child's angry viewpoint, and readers will be surprised to find that they can care about a character who is so mean.


New elder siblings — and parents who expect them to share their own delight with baby brothers or sisters — will find a sympathetic, feisty protagonist in Isabel. Her short temper with the "sick ladies' meetings," as she calls her mother's cancer support groups, and the confused anger and anxiety Isabel feels regarding her mother, will be familiar to the families of cancer patients as well. (And she does eventually come around to baby Rebekah.)

—Denver Post

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