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To Catch a Mermaid


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A humorous and fantastical tale of wishes, Vikings and wicked merbabies.

About the Author

Born in Munich, Germany, in 1963, Suzanne Selfors graduated with honours from Occidental College in Documentary Film Production. She received an MA in Communications from the University of Washington.


Gr 4-6-Sixth-grader Boom Broom's got it rough. His family is still reeling from the twister that came and left their tiny seafaring town so suddenly, sucking up Mrs. Broom. For Boom, that means dealing with a dad who refuses to leave his "safe" attic; a 10-year-old sister, Mertyle, who fakes every illness imaginable to keep from leaving the house; and a cook who thinks he's a Viking descendant. Just when it looks as if Boom's as low as he can get, a miracle happens. While sifting through the reject bucket at the docks for some dinner, he finds an incredibly hostile baby mermaid. He wants to use the creature to make the family some money, but Mertyle wants to adopt it. Unfortunately, such actions can have horrendous consequences, and soon the two children are face-to-face with some seemingly uncontrollable magic and a curse beyond their reckoning. This amusing story has lots of kid appeal. Selfors has conjured up great characters and settings, and her narrative voice never falters. Though a sequel would not be surprising, this book stands well enough on its own. It's sure to be a hit with any reader searching for something funny.-Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'TO CATCH A MERMAID is a delight. Suzanne Selfors knows just how to balance weird happenings with likeable, believable characters. The story of the very unfortunate - and very funny - Broom family will appeal to anyone who likes humour, surprises, a dash of sadness and merbabies with killer teeth' - Jeanne DuPrau, author of CITY OF EMBER.

When the unlikely hero of Selfors's assured debut, a luckless sixth grader named Boomerang "Boom" Broom, inadvertently brings home a baby mermaid instead of cheap seafood from the fish market for dinner, he sets off a madcap chain of events that turns his house bright pink, transforms his bathroom into a tropical beach replete with banana tree and monkey, puts his little sister Mertyle's life in grave danger, and miraculously heals his dysfunctional family from the sudden and bizarre loss of his mother. The baby mermaid, the ill-tempered antithesis of Disney's Princess Ariel with razor-sharp teeth and green-seaweed hair, possesses powerful magic that, at first, makes Mertyle's unwitting wishes come true; but the merbaby also brings with it a deadly curse that soon afflicts Boom's sister in the form of a bizarre white fungus. With time running out, can Boom find a cure for his fuzz-covered sibling? Featuring some outlandishly funny characters (among them the villainous, "big-butted" principal Mrs. Prunewallop and Halvor, the family cook who models himself on Erik the Red), Selfors's adventure also subtly explores serious themes like grief, adversity and misfortune. In a nutshell-or, more fittingly, a conch shell-her nimble fantasy is about Boom's journey of self-discovery and the feeling that comes from achieving a seemingly unreachable goal. A few unresolved plot threads, notably to do with the mother, point to a sequel. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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