________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 9 . . . .January 7, 2005


The Mermaid Secret.

Vicki Blum. Illustrated by Julie Rocheleau.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2004.
107 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-439-96916-6.

Subject Headings:
Mermaids-Juvenile fiction.
Magic-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Luella Sumner.

**** /4



As we swam from the king's castle to the outer edge of the city, Kallie and I noticed that something strange was happening to our bodies.

It began with a tingling in my hands. I held them to my face and saw that tiny, golden webs had formed between my fingers and thumbs. I choked in dismay and spun back toward Kallie. To my horror I saw that her legs were ablaze with light - just as Brin's had been back at the beach. Then right before my eyes my sister's legs disappeared and in their place gleamed the long golden tail and fins of a real mermaid.

If I'd been standing on land I'd likely have toppled over in shock.

My heart thudded. The water in my lungs was suddenly too thick to breathe.

Kallie looked down, then kicked and hurtled through the water, gurgling with delight. It was clear that the mermaid tail was much more powerful than two spindly legs. What would our mother think? Was this what she had been afraid of?


Kallie and Danya are twins, but they are very unalike. Kallie is a dreamer and a believer in magic and mermaids; level-headed and practical Danya is quite convinced that no such thing as a mermaid could ever exist. But when Kallie is approached by Brin, a mermaid, who tells her that the undersea Kingdom is in desperate trouble, she works very hard at convincing Danya that they must go to help the merpeople. Danya is dragged reluctantly into the adventure. When the twins enter the magic kingdom of Ayralon, they are both transformed into mermaids. To their astonishment, they learn that they are the children of a merman and were actually born in Ayralon. They are the only ones who can recover The Jewel of Life which has been stolen from the merpeople by an unscrupulous human, Henry Craddock. Without their Jewel, the merpeople will gradually fade away and die. Kallie and Danya are helped in their quest by their Aunt Mattie, who is a witch. After many adventures, the Jewel is recovered and returned, and everyone lives happily ever after, a great ending to a great story.

     This story is wonderfully captivating, making for very enjoyable reading. The twins are both very believable as humans and very enchanting as mermaids. The book has everything to engage the interest of a young girl--mermaids, twins, adventures, dolphins, magic and villains. It is a perfect fantasy.

     Vicki Blum is a Canadian writer who has also written a best selling series about unicorns.

Highly Recommended.

Red Rock, ON's Luella Sumner is a retired librarian.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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