The Bad-News Report Card Review (Holiday House)

What It Is

Isabel was confident that she would have a great report card until one bad day made her have serious doubts. When it came time to bring her report card home, she conveniently "lost" it between the seats on the school bus. The next day, her parents sent Isabel to school with a note to her teacher, but that also got "lost" on the bus. As luck would have it, the bus driver found Isabel's report card, as well as her parents' note, and turned both into the principal. In a suspenseful turning point, Isabel is called into the principal's office to receive her still-sealed report card. With no other option, she brings it home to her parents and to everyone's delight, it's as good as Isabel initially thought.

Is It Fun?

With back-to-school now a reality, report cards aren't that far behind. While most kids try their best in school, there's always the possibility that "needs improvement" might appear on their report card. This picture book is a great way to explore the idea of report cards with the kids and address any related anxieties. Isabel's story also helps teach two important lessons. First is the obvious one that lying and deception always catches up with you. And the second is that one bad day doesn't undo all of one's hard work and effort.

On the lighter side, the illustrations are colorful and the characters' faces are very expressive. There's also some funny moments, such as the family cat's faux report card in which Isabel writes "Badbreath is a pleasure to have around the house." ("Badbreath" is the name of the cat!)

Who It’s For

This book is terrific for children in kindergarten and first grade. Children starting out in school may not understand the idea of a report card and this story makes a good introduction to the concept.

What To Be Aware Of

This book is only available in hardcover but should be easy to find in your local library.

  • Quality

  • Read-it-Again Score

  • Fun-and-Learning

  • The Bad-News Report Card published by Holiday House
  • Written by: Nancy Poydar
  • Illustrated by: Nancy Poydar
  • We recommend this book for kids ages 5 and up