Oh cod! Someone has fishnapped the Mermaid Queen!
All young mermaids are required to spend a summer on land, with temporary legs and feet. Beattie, Mimi, and Zelda are three such mermaids, enjoying hot dogs by the sea, when crabmail arrives from the missing queen herself. The girls must end their summer early and arrive home by midnight—only they can stop the titular bad mermaids threatening the Hidden Lagoon in the queen’s absence. When the girls arrive, they find Periwinkle Palace deserted except for an army of piranhas and a new queen, a mysterious mermaid who calls herself The Swan and who is forcing all mermaids to make shell tops for some unknown reason. The trio steal a clamshell car and set out to find the real Mermaid Queen and stop The Swan from carrying out her nefarious plan to control all mermaids. Beattie, whom the black-and-white illustrations portray as dark-skinned, is the leader. Fraternal twins Zelda and Mimi are shown with pale skin. Each mermaid has unique traits that set her apart from the others, and each uses her personal strengths to solve the mystery and save the day. Creative metafictive elements and tongue-in-cheek jokes about mermaid myths such as perpetual hair combing round out the lightning-fast plot. A cliffhanger finale suggests a sequel.
Fin-tastic fun. (Fantasy. 8-12)