A girl forges friendships with the mermaids in the ocean behind her house.
Lindy Michaels misses her best friend, her bedroom and everything else she left behind in Chicago when her parents moved their family to a South Carolina coastal island. Lindy’s no fan of the ocean or of her new neighbor, a stereotypically “[l]oud, messy, and annoying” boy named Matthew. Lindy isn’t willing to give Little Hermit’s Island a chance until a storm strands mermaid Sealily and her pet sea horse Finneus in a tide pool. Quick-thinking Lindy saves Sealily and Finneus and strikes up a friendship with them. When the weather clears, they entreat Lindy to come swim, offering up sea sponges that will enable her to breathe underwater, but frightened Lindy declines. Later, Matthew captures Finneus, and, knowing Sealily and her family must be distraught, Lindy trades away her most valued possession for the creature. While returning Finneus to the ocean, Lindy is pulled out to sea by a riptide. The grateful mermaids come to her aid in turn. They help her to the shore and break her of her fear of the water in a rather cheesy lesson that emphasizes giving things a chance. The illustrations rely on hair color and fins to help readers tell characters apart, but facial expressions are great and settings inviting.
A middling chapter book for mermaid lovers who don’t want big conflicts. (Fantasy. 6-9)