The Tail of Emily Windsnap
Illustrated by Sarah Gibb
Ages 8 to 12
Candlewick Press, 2003, 076362811-5
Even though she is twelve years old, Emily Windsnap has never learned how to swim. Now she has finally persuaded her mother to let her take swimming lessons in seventh grade and she is thrilled at the prospect. So, Emily finally gets into a body of water for the first time and for a few delicious moments she loves it, swimming easily. Then something awful starts to happen. Her legs seem to get stiff and fused and she cannot move. The instructor says that she got a cramp and helps Emily to sit on the side of the pool. Emily knows that something else took place in the water and it terrifies her. Later that night she sneaks off the boat that is her home and slips into the water and there she verifies what she thought she saw in the pool; soon after she enters the water her legs change into a tail and she becomes a mermaid.
For the next few nights Emily secretly explores this new self that she never knew she had. Then she meets another mermaid, Shona, a girl her own age who lives in the ocean in a secret mermaid world ruled over by Neptune. Emily and Shona begin to figure out that Emily is able to become a mermaid just by chance and they also figure out that Emily’s father did not in fact run away when she was a baby. He did not abandon his family by choice. There is a complicated story behind the Windsnap name and Emily is determined to unravel it. More than anything she wishes that she could bring her family back together again.
Without a doubt this gripping and delightful adventure will leave readers hopping for more. With colorful and vivid descriptions of Neptune’s underwater kingdom, and with plenty of action and unexpected plot twists, this fantasy celebration of the power of family is sure to become a firm favorite with young readers.
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