Emily’s Big Discovery (The World of Emily Windsnap) by Liz Kessler, illustrated by Joanie Stone

Published by Candlewick

Summary:  Even though Emily and her mother live on a houseboat, young Emily isn’t allowed to go into the ocean.  Her mother warns her that the water is dangerous.  When Emily gets a chance to try swimming lessons at school, she’s excited and dives right into the pool.  She feels right at home until she gets a strange sensation in her legs, like they’re sticking together.  Her instructor tells her she got a cramp and has her rest by the side of the pool, but Emily can’t stop thinking about what it was like being in the water.  That night, she sneaks off the boat and goes into the ocean.  When she has the same sensation in her legs, she realizes they’ve turned into a tail, and she’s a mermaid!  She meets another mermaid, Shona, and the two become friends and explore the ocean.  Emily returns home in the morning with the feeling that her mermaid adventures have just begun.  56 pages; grades 1-3.

Pros:  Based on the middle grade books about Emily Windsnap, this early chapter book series starter is a real charmer, especially the illustrations. Demand for mermaid books always outpaces supply, so I look forward to adding this series to my library.  Book 2 will be out in September.

Cons: The story has plot holes big enough to sail a ship through. Has Emily never taken a bath?  How could she take swimming lessons at school without her mother’s permission?  Didn’t anyone notice that she became a mermaid in the pool? How does she look so chipper going off to school at the end after being up all night? 

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