There's nothing subtle about this playful fabrication, as you'll note right off with the names of the scientists assembled to investigate Ever-After Island: pale Dr. Dank for mushrooms, long-fingered Professor Tendril the vine man, and lively Mr. and Mrs. Gust the weather experts. Then there's the strange ship captain (one earring, bandana, parrot on shoulder, dagger between teeth--and he casts no shadow) who steers the party to their destination. And there's no mistaking that friendly first meeting that you know will lead to a match between Ryan's widowed Dad (a fish specialist who brings his kids on his projects) and the nice young journalist covering the expedition for Nature's Secrets. The occasion is a summer study tour, led by a famous old scientist whose total reference library consists of fairy tales. And in no time at all Ryan, who doesn't share the general scientific outlook, becomes acquainted with elves and other storybook creatures who tell him a story that ends like this: If a human boy can get the magic jewel from the evil wizard's cave, then the enchanted flounder will become a prince again, and his beloved mermaid Llura can turn handling and rule the island with him. Well of course Ryan does, winning out over scientists and hobgoblins alike (not to mention a wicked stepmother who almost snares his father and an incompetent fairy godmother who temporarily turns Ryan's sister into a pumpkin). Enough? There's no point to any of it, but fortunately very little pretense to one, and though Hill lacks the sparkle to make such free-floating fantasy delightful, other dreamers like Ryan will find that it reads like a breeze.