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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fish Girl is a graphic novel co-written by Donna Jo Napoli and three-time Caldecott Medalist (and illustrator) David Wiesner. It depicts a teen mermaid's attempt to escape from captivity. Violence is limited to the conjuring of a destructive storm. There's no objectionable language, sexual content, or substance use.
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What's the story?
In FISH GIRL, the nameless protagonist spends her days tantalizing tourists at her father's seaside attraction. Visitors to her aquarium only get a glimpse of her in the tank, but one girl in particular, Livia, wants to know more about the mermaid. Emboldened by their friendship, Fish Girl finds temporary means of escape. But is there a way for her to be truly free and independent?
Is it any good?
Gorgeous underwater visuals distinguish this understated tale of a young woman testing the boundaries of freedom. Fish Girl moves at a measured pace, relishing small moments rather than outsized gestures. David Wiesner's detailed, immersive art may be the big draw for many readers, but Donna Jo Napoli's script is sensitive and involving. Anyone who dreams of living under the sea will be captivated by this unusual graphic novel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Fish Girl updates the story of The Little Mermaid. Why are readers interested in mermaids?
Fish Girl begins to suspect that her father doesn't have her best interests in mind. How can greed cause bitterness and mistrust in a family?
What kinds of stories work best as graphic novels? What kinds of effects can the medium achieve that are more difficult in prose alone?
- Author: Donna Jo Napoli
- Illustrator: David Wiesner
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Friendship, Ocean Creatures
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publication date: March 7, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 12
- Number of pages: 192
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.