New adventure about time travelThe Tail of Emily Windsnap

by Liz Kessler

Candlewick Press
Ages 8-up
224 pages

Emily Windsnap is a normal 12-year-old with the normal concerns of any pre-teen, friends, family, school. Like where's her father? And why won't her mother let her learn to swim? Why not -- they live on a houseboat, for pete's sake! But no, no, no, that's all Emily's mother ever says when Emily asks for lessons. So Emily takes matters into her own hands. A swim class is offered in seventh grade and she signs up. Then she hits the water, and suddenly -- Emily isn't normal anymore!

With the help of a new friend, Emily goes about getting some answers, and finding her father. Told with a light touch and a realistic backdrop, this story is a good diversion from the present and provides girls with a role model of one who doesn't give up.

With a sense of suspense and rich details, first-time author Liz Kessler lures us into an undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident — an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love. But if you like this one, the adventure continues in several more books by Kessler.

Review by D.

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