Gr. 4-7. This first novel opens with a classic teaser: "Can you keep a secret." It turns out that the secret is a particularly juicy one. Though outwardly a normal seventh-grader, Emily Windsnap transforms into a mermaid when she goes swimming. The phenomenon worries her but thrills her, too, especially when she discovers an underwater "mer-city" not far from where she lives, and begins to learn the answers to nagging questions about her origins: Why did her father abandon her when she was a baby. Why can't her mother remember details about her husband. After a new mermaid friend mentions "illegal marriages" between mer-people and humans, readers will guess where things are headed--long before Emily herself does. Emily's eventual reunion with her merman father seems overly reliant on luck and coincidence, but her determination keeps things cruising along, and the premise of someone slipping easily into a shimmery underwater world has considerable allure. Light, imagination-tickling fare ideal for middle-grade girls, with charming ink-wash illustrations scattered throughout. Jennifer Mattson
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Liz Kessler lives in England, and has worked as a teacher, journalist, and editorial consultant. She says she first knew she wanted to become a writer at the age of nine, when she had a poem published in a local newspaper. The Tail of Emily Windsnap, her first children's book, grew out of a poem she wrote about a mermaid.
Pre-teen girls will likely bite at this novel's tempting bait. --Publishers Weekly Delightful moments. --School Library Journal Light, imagination-tickling fare ideal for middle-grade girls, with charming ink-wash illustrations scattered throughout. --Booklist Middle school girls . . . will enjoy the tale. --VOYA There is no denying the siren-like allure of mermaid stories. . . . Gibb's spot art has a fluid delicacy that adds much to the watery ambience. --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Liz Kessler makes a splash with this tightly written, highly imaginative debut. --FamilyFun Charming. --The Wall Street Journal Liz Kessler creates an engaging heroine, full of funny asides and derring-do, and a sparkling, fast-paced story with more plot twists than a mermaid's flipping tale. --Washington Parent