A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows young girls shown building confidence, navigating bullies and friendships, and has some great, open conversations between parents and children.
Love and kindness win the day. Don't be ashamed of who you are. Don;t wallow in slef-doubt.
Positive Role Models
Emily's mermaid friends are great role models for each other; when they have a misunderstanding, they talk about it, and they don't trash the friendship or try to make the other feel bad. Books for this age group don't always put a high value on true friendship, so it's nice to see it here. Emily lacks confidence many times and wallows in self-doubt, wondering if her friends really like her or if she'll lose them.
Violence & Scariness
King Neptune is angry and erratic, and Emily is in some life-threatening situations, but they're appropriate for readers at this level.
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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).
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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Best Book Series for Tweens
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