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THE FISH IN ROOM 11 by Heather Dyer


by Heather Dyer

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-439-57975-9
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Dyer debuts with an amiable rags-to-riches tale featuring a foundling lad who makes unusual friends on the way to winkling out his past. Thanks to meanie Kenneth Harris, manager of the seedy seaside Grand Hotel, Toby labors hard for nothing but pajamas and a bed in the attic. Under the dock one day he meets the Flots, three friendly merfolk. When a gold ducal signet ring they give him from their hoard of sea-loot touches off a massive treasure hunt, Toby concocts a bold plan to save them from exposure by putting them into wheelchairs and installing them as guests at the Grand. Dyer stocks the cast with familiar types, all depicted with breezy assurance in Bailey’s frequent sketches, and takes the plot through a series of twists as Toby helps the Flots outmaneuver Harris, and his snaky son Nigel, before eventually expediting their escape aboard a cruise ship. By the end, Harris has been replaced, the ring turns out to be a crucial clue to Toby’s past (did you doubt?), and there’s a closing signal that the Flots haven’t entirely disappeared. Readers will enjoy meeting these clear-cut characters, all of whom get just what they deserve—or better. (Fiction. 10-12)