Mermaid glamour meets action and suspense in Perry-Church’s vividly imagined debut fantasy book for children.
Nestled deep in an ancient ocean, the kingdom of Merland is a formidable and beautiful place in which to grow up. It’s also the home of two mermaids named Shimmer and StarFire, as well as their tag-along little sister, SeaStar. After their mother’s death in a shark attack, they’re a little wary of wandering alone. However, the tantalizing promise of a magic pearl lures them out on a treasure hunt in the open sea, where they’re sure to find both danger and adventure. On their hunt, they encounter deadly sharks, witness shocking transformations, and make incredible discoveries. Along the way, one of the mermaids also finds a surprising source of strength. The story is set against the backdrop of a richly imagined undersea kingdom; for example, the author details the dangers of Merland as well as some of its strange, magical elements. However, the story also offers plenty that young readers will relate to, including bossy older siblings and struggles with self-image and self-esteem. The book touches on deeper issues of loss and grief, and handles the death of the young mermaids’ mother with sensitivity and tact. The timid, awkward-looking SeaStar is an endearingly unlikely heroine, and readers will be surprised and delighted to see their experiences reflected in hers. With its glossary and several pages of mermaid-related information, this book is classroom-ready, as well as a worthy bedtime tale. Some members of the book’s target audience may find that its large amount of text and somewhat advanced vocabulary (“she had a streamlined figure with pronounced human features”) make it a challenging independent read. However, it promises to enchant many others with its equal measures of magic, warmth, and thrills.
A fun, exciting underwater romp.