Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Tail of Emily Windsnap - Liz Kessler

Summary:  Everybody has a secret.  Mine's a little different, though.  I didn't even know about it until the first day of swim class in the seventh grade.  You see, I'd never been allowed to go in the water before.  As it turns out, swimming comes naturally to me.  Very naturally.  In fact, so naturally that you might even say...well, it's true.  Here's my secret:  I figured out that I'm a mermaid.  (Summary from book - Image from

My Review:  Emily has always felt close to the ocean, even though she’s never actually been in it.  Well, not that she can remember anyway.  When her mom finally consents to swimming lessons, and something strange happens during class, Emily uncovers a hidden talent, a fascinating world, and an unlikely friend.  Only someone is watching, and will stop at nothing to keep the past a secret.

I am sure that this book is the sort of book I would have adored as a young girl, but the adult me wanted to stop reading after about twelve pages.  The dialogue, plot depth, etc. made it painfully obvious that this was a book meant to be read by children and tweens and not their parents.  It was fine, really, but I just couldn’t help rolling my eyes at Emily’s ability to solve certain problems effortlessly, while it took her ages to piece together the most obvious of clues.        
I might have been rolling my eyes, but my daughters were not; they were thrilled with the story.  I mean, what little girl doesn’t dream of finding out she’s really half-mermaid?!  I’m fairly certain that I did.  When I drug my feet, they begged me to keep reading.  With every mention of underwater shipwrecks, rainbow rocks, and glittering palaces, they slipped further into the story and their own imaginations.  That is why I kept reading.    

I don’t often recommend that parents skip reading a book before handing it to their children, but I might make an exception with The Tail of Emily Windsnap.  As long as you’re okay with the stuff in my sensitive reader section (below) then you have nothing else to worrya bout with this novel.  Hand it over, spare yourself some eye-rolling, and let your little girl disappear into a world of mermaids, shipwrecks, and sparkling treasure. 

Here’s a little of what my girls had to say (I’m in italics): 
Kaisa (age 8), says:  “I think the story was cool because I really like mermaids.  It’s really a good story that kids can read.  My favorite part was when they were in the courtroom made out of jewels then and they got to go live on an island  (ßoops, sorry.  Spoiler.)  My least favorite part was when she was sneaking out in the middle of the night because it wasn’t really a good thing to do.  (Good girl.)  I like the joke at the front (on the cover) about how it’s a TAIL, like a tail on a mouse, instead of a TALE like a story.”

Sophie (age 6) says:  “I liked it when she turned into a mermaid and I liked the part with the crystal chandelier.  I liked it when she found a new friend that was Shona and that she got to live on an island.  My not favorite part was when she had to the court because guy with the mermaid thing (Neptune) was scary.  The story is a little scary (Not really.  He might have yelled a bit, but this girl has watched The Mummy and been just fine.  Don’t judge me.  It was her dad’s idea).  
Apparently, this is also the first book in a series.  I don't plan on reading them, but my girls might.
My Rating:  My daughters both want me to give this book 5 stars.  I want to give it 2 stars.  I’m going to meet them halfway and go with 3.5 stars.  I can live with that. 

For the sensitive reader:  Emily does some sneaking out at night and has some conflict with a bullying classmate, but nothing that a comment or two from a well-meaning parent can’t diffuse.
Sum it up:  Skip this book as a read-aloud, and just let your child read it on their own.  They’ll enjoy it.  You have better things to read.


Anonymous said...

Hey anyone knows the significance for this book?

MindySue said...

Not sure what you mean...


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