A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Liz Kessler's Emily Windsnap series is fun, spirited, and more serious than you'd expect for books about tween mermaids. As Emily discovers her new world as a half-mermaid, half-human, she faces an identity crisis, unsure of who she is and feeling alone among new friends. Readers who are navigating conflicts with their own parents and families might identify with Emily's struggles. When a kid's dad is suddenly back in the picture, it doesn't matter if he's human or merman; kids' feelings of uncertainty and blame are universal. That said, the series is about mermaids, with all the magic, hair brushing, and fancy swimming tricks that entails (pardon the pun).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the EMILY WINDSNAP series, 12-year-old Emily discovering that she is half-mermaid isn't the biggest moment of her life. That comes when she learns that her father didn't abandon her but was imprisoned by an angry King Neptune deep under the sea. It's a lot for a kid to grasp, but Emily faces it all head on. She makes new mermaid friends but has to learn to live by the rules of the sea, which means she confronts King Neptune and his arbitrary decrees about where mermaids should live and who they can be with.
Is it any good?
There's surprising depth to this fun series. Sure, when Emily Windsnap makes her first best friend and the two of them practice treasure hunting and hair brushing, it all seems flighty and tweeny. But the stories have great pacing, there are adventures and mysteries that intertwine, vocabulary that can challenge average readers, and lots of giggling.
Emily is uncertain about her place in the world, and young readers who feel alone or wonder if their friends are sincere will identify with her emotional roller coaster. Emily's relationship with her parents is likely similar to what many readers are experiencing at their age: both close and distant at the same time, they're still kids but pushing for more independence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Emily Windsnap sometimes feels being caught between her human and mermaid worlds. What do you think is most difficult for her, and what do you think she likes about her situation?
Emily seems confident when she's fighting fierce battles in the sea, but quite the opposite when she's facing conflicts with friends. Have you ever felt both confident and overwhelmed at the same time?
What other storied have you read or watched about life under the sea?
- Author: Liz Kessler
- Illustrator: Sarah Gibb
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Ocean Creatures
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Candlewick
- Publication date: April 10, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 18, 2018
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