Author: E.S. Ivy
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Independent – Phyta Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 91
Recommended age: 7+
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Miri Attwater and the Ocean’s Secret introduces us to the title character who is living among the “leggers” on land but learns that she is actually a mermaid princess. She also learns that her mother, the Queen lives in the bottom of ocean so she goes off to live with the merfolk and to meet her Mom. She finds out that being a mermaid is very different than living on land.
My Thoughts: Miri Attwater and the Ocean’s Secret is a fantastical tale about a young girl who is perhaps a bit different from other kids. Without her magical necklace, she sprouts a big fishy tail when she is immersed in water. Miri Attwater’s story will resonate with all tween and teen girls who image or wish that they were somebody else, be it a mermaid, a princess, or even better…BOTH!
We first meet Miri on the first day of summer vacation when she heads out to the water park with her friends. We soon learn that Miri is a bit different from most kids: she frequently shocks her friends with a jolt of electricity, she’s a bit on the clumsy side, her hair dries quickly, and she doesn’t like swimming (I know…ironic, isn’t it?) I found Miri to be very charming and likable as a main character. She had the right mix of vulnerability and courage given the circumstances.
There was also a lively assortment of other characters which included both “leggers” (i.e., humans) and many mermaids, mermen, mergirls, and merboys. My favorite was Tante Kala, the old mermaid Nanny who guides Miri to the underwater world of the merfolk. She plays a very motherly character and was just lovely. She was perhaps the most developed of the other characters; and in fact, I would say that many of the other characters remained a bit too underdeveloped. I feel like there is much more to learn about Queen Nerina, but perhaps that is coming in the next book.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the underwater world of the merfolk and I felt that the author did a great job describing the layout of the underwater city and what life is like for the merfolk. I liked how she made the merfolk unable to breathe underwater, instead having them excel at holding their breath. I thought it was clever how this detail played out in the story.
I do have to comment on the pacing of the story. I read the book aloud to my children who were completely captivated by the story. We were given many hints as to Miri’s true identity and the story is punctuated by humorous moments. For example, we all enjoyed the description of how Miri “tests” whether she is a mermaid in her bath tub. The story kept us hooked as we traveled with Miri underwater and we loved reading about how the underwater world was different from living on land. I have to admit though, that I kept expecting “something” to happen – more of a climactic moment. There were several “moments”, but I was waiting for something “bigger”. I felt that the “big moment” never really came and then the story ended.
My bottom line: Miri Attwater and the Ocean’s Secret is a lovely tale featuring a likable title character who discovers she is a mermaid princess and is transported, along with the reader, to a magical underwater world of merfolk. I think girls 7+ who love stories featuring mermaids, princesses, and other girlie themes will love reading this book.
1. Who is main character and what did you think of her? Miri is a young girl who we meet when she lives on land. She is afraid of sharks and swimming, but she has good friends. She is very brave when she decides to leave her home to go underwater and meet her Mom.
2. What was your favorite part of the book? I thought it was really cool how there were bubble houses. In this book, mermaids don’t breathe underwater, they have to hold their breath. It would be really cool if people who aren’t mermaids could live under water like they did in this book. I thought it was funny how she turned into a mermaid in the bathtub. I would never want to eat the food that mermaids eat. Yuck!
3. Was there anything you didn’t like about the book? I would have liked it better if she had only been a mermaid, not a mermaid princess. I think boys would like the book better if it was only about mermaids. There was even merboys in the story so maybe boys would like this book too.
4. What do you think of the cover and the pictures in the book? I thought the cover could be better because it does not really show Miri or the mermaids or how they live as mermaids.
5. Overall, how did you like the book? I thought this book was really, really good and I liked it a lot. I would read the next book to find out what happens.
6. Who do you think would like this book? I would recommend this book to girls 7 to 14 years old.
Daughter Rating: ★★★★☆
Daughter Rating: ★★★★☆
*** This book was provided to us free-of-charge by the author exchange for an honest review.***
About The Author:
Growing up in East Texas, E.S. Ivy preferred her adventures to be in books, where things were nice and safe. She was a cautious beginning swimmer and liked to stay in the shallow end of the pool where she could touch the bottom every once and a while. That is, until she went to camp and had to swim in a lake with squishy mud. That’s when she learned to swim in deep water. She’s even been snorkeling and seen jellyfish and barracuda. But she is very glad she has never seen a shark!
Ivy graduated from college with a degree in Chemistry. In graduate school she studied plants, because they aren’t squishy and they don’t squeal when you poke them. Her PhD didn’t teach her how to keep houseplants alive, but she did learn how to grow a certain type of fern very well – even upside down and sideways! She sent some of them up on the space shuttle Columbia and got to travel to see the nighttime launch at Kennedy Space Center.
Ivy also worked as a writer and editor of children’s science textbooks. But she got tired of the publishers taking out all of the fun parts, so she decided to write novels. She also likes to craft and has had original crafts published in Family Fun Magazine.
Ivy now lives in the hills of Central Texas with her husband and three kids. And – because there’s a rule that all pets have to be a type of critter that mom is willing to catch – a dog named Topaz.
Please visit http://www.miriattwater.com/p/home.html for more information on E.S. Ivy and Miri Attwater’s World.
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