Bobby Bell, endearing enfant terrible of The Secret in the Matchbox (1988), returns, his inventive curiosity still being mistaken for mischief. This time he finds a tiny mermaid at the beach, puts her into a bottle, and takes her home, where she grows large enough to fill the bathtub. Next atop is school, where the mermaid sneaks into a ""swimming gala"" and causes a stir by invoking a slew of other sea creatures, including Neptune himself. The consternation among adults, glee from the kids, and Bobby's triumph resemble what happened in the earlier books, but the theme is still appealing. Again, Shelley's imaginative, skillfully drawn illustrations--and especially his witty, detailed borders: comical extensions of the story and of the characters' inner lives--are outstanding.