“Invisible Isabelle…as told by Jimmy Pizzelli” by Caryn Doti Chavez

“Invisible Isabelle…as told by Jimmy Pizzelli” by Caryn Doti Chavez 819 1024 Reader Views Kids

Invisible Isabelle…as told by Jimmy Pizzelli

Caryn Doti Chavez
Funny Bones Publishing (2013)
ISBN:  978-0615753492
Reviewed by Kassia Scotti for Reader Views (11/2023)

Caryn Doti Chavez’s “Invisible Isabelle…as told by Jimmy Pizzelli” follows a boy and his wild imagination as he attempts to project his wrongdoings on a little girl named Isabelle. The story mixes humor and plot twists to tell a story of mischief and imaginary frenemies.

An underrated and overlooked device in children’s books and what they can add to a child’s reading experience, in my opinion, is humor. It is an excellent way to connect with children and get them engaged in the story. At times I wonder if because of its target audience a book won’t make me laugh, but Chavez and Jimmy’s antics proved me wrong.

The writing style is very blunt, which I think works well with the story’s content. For example, when Jimmy introduces himself, Isabelle replies brusquely “I really don’t care.” It’s a very accurate and honest depiction of what interactions between children might look like, which I don’t often see in children’s literature. It makes the story all the more relatable and entertaining.
Isabelle works as a mirror of himself which Jimmy fabricated for someone to blame. I’m sure every kid’s first instinct is to find a way to avoid getting in trouble, and I enjoyed all the different ways Jimmy attempted to do so, even if it didn’t exactly work.

The handwritten font and first-person point of view are a very original way of putting us in Jimmy’s shoes. The story would lose its credibility if we were perhaps seeing him from his mother’s point of view. It almost feels like diary entries that put readers in his mind’s eye, which encourages readers to believe every single word that Jimmy says. It is a fun and fresh take on an unreliable narrator. Who can be more unreliable than a kid desperate to get out of doing his homework or cleaning his room?

While I really enjoyed questioning if Isabelle was real or not, there were moments when it was slightly too confusing. Almost all the things that Jimmy tried to avoid getting in trouble for made sense, except maybe mowing the grass. I wasn’t sure what the reality of that would be. In line with the other mishaps, I would think Jimmy would want to try and get out of cutting the grass. Is blaming it on Isabelle his way of justifying having to do his chores? The image of it is still very funny, but stopping to question it took me out of the story for a second.

The ending is very funny and a cute way to expand on his big imagination, but I also wondered if this was meant to encourage us to question if Isabelle was real or not. If so, I enjoy open endings that don’t answer all my questions right away.

This story is a very amusing take on where our imaginations can take us and how far we’re willing to go to watch a bit of extra TV.

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