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Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist Paperback – April 10, 2012

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Series: Emily Windsnap (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780763660178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763660178
  • ASIN: 0763660175
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Half-human/half-mermaid Emily should be happy. She's living with her recently reunited parents (a human mother and merman father), she has a best friend, and she loves her new school. Still, this third book in the series finds her preoccupied with her parents' escalating bickering. After awakening King Neptune's fearsome monster in book two, Emily has vowed to stay out of trouble, but that is exactly what she finds in a magic ring from the ocean floor. When the king finds out that she has hidden it from him, he is furious and puts a curse on her: at the next full moon, she will become all human or all mermaid, whichever he chooses. So begins an adventure that takes the girl to a secret castle where she learns that she may not be as unique as she previously thought. Kessler combines the whimsy of life as a mermaid with the problems of an average middle-schooler. She keeps the story moving, with each chapter posing a new problem. Plenty of dialogue and Ledwidge's soft, dreamlike line drawings add textual and visual interest, making for a zippy story in an attractive package. Fans of mermaids and things that sparkle are the likely audience for this light fantasy.—Adrienne Furness, Webster Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Be careful," Shona whispered as she waved me off from the porthole. "And good luck."

"You too," I said with a hopeful smile. "See you soon."

"You're sure you don't want me to come with you?"

"I'm sure," I said. We'd agreed I had to go straight back to the castle and tell Aaron the news about tonight. There was no time to lose. Shona was going to stay behind and fend Millie off if she came looking for us.
Thankfully, she'd become so absorbed in her dowsing that she wouldn't notice anything for a while. I wouldn't have long, though. The last thing I wanted was for her to worry about me, on top of everything else. Or to keep a closer eye on me and stop me from going out tonight. That was unthinkable! I'd just have to be careful - and quick.

I swam off in the same direction, listened to the ring in the same way, sneaked into the tunnel, and finally came up in the pool in the castle's cellar. I pulled myself out of the water and sat on the side to get my breath back. Panting and exhausted, I wondered how many more times I'd be able to swim here. My body was getting weaker by the hour. My tail was getting more patchy, my breathing more scratchy. Just one more day. Please let me hold out for one more day.

A noise creaked behind me. I leaped to my feet.

"Emily!" It was Aaron! He was still dressed all in black, and his hair was tied back in a sleek ponytail; his face shone pale and clear in the semidarkness of the cellar. His smile was the brightest thing on him. "I've been hanging around here since you left," he said, softly closing the door behind him. "I was hoping you'd come back."

"I said I would." I smiled back, almost surprised at how pleased I was to see him.

Aaron took a step nearer the pool, and that's when I noticed something. His feet - they were webbed. Of course they were. He was descended from Aurora, which meant the curse affected him too. Like me, he was stuck between the two worlds, neither fully one thing nor another. More like me at the moment than ever, as he wasn't quite a semi-mer either. The brief silence that fell between us wasn't awkward. It was the silence between two people who know they understand each other without even using words. It was almost like the way I felt with Shona.

He noticed me looking and shyly held out a hand. "Come on, let me help you out of the pool," he said. This time he didn't snatch his hand away. He held it out palm up, fingers outstretched. Showing me. His hands were webbed too, his fingers joined at the knuckle by the thinnest waferlike stretches of skin. As I reached up to grab his hand, it was as though we were shaking on a deal. We were the same. Whatever happened from here onward, we would succeed or fail together.

We sat on the side of the pool. Aaron stared as my tail melted away and my legs re-formed.

"I can't even do that properly," he said. "My legs stick together and my toes flap about a bit, but that's all." He looked at me wistfully. "Just as it's been for the rest of my family, every generation."

"Aaron, we can change it," I said. "That's what I've come to tell you. Tonight's the spring equinox. And the full moon - it's at midnight!"

Aaron's eyes widened. "Tonight? This is the year? How do you know? The secrecy, the magic!"

I told him about Millie and the Orphalese Oracle. I didn't mention the fact that Millie didn't always get it exactly right. She had to be right this time. She had to be.

"I don't believe it," Aaron said again and again. "I don't believe it. Every spring equinox since I've known about it, I've hoped and wished. I've even searched for the ring myself and prayed the other one would somehow turn up."

"I can't believe I ended up here," I said, looking at the ring on my finger and smiling. I could feel its warmth smile back at me. "I know I've had a few lucky breaks in my life, among all the crazy stuff! But surely that's about as much of a coincidence as you can get."

Aaron shook his head. "It's not a coincidence at all," he said. "The ring brought you here."

"Brought me to the castle?"

"The rings were meant to be together. When one is worn by a semi-mer, it wants to find the other one. While buried, the rings have no power. But when they are free, they want to be together. They're meant to be together. Its own heart brought you here."

We fell silent, lost in our own thoughts, and maybe in our own hopes. "Now we just have to find the pearl ring," he said after a while.

"Not just find it. We have to find it and bring the two rings together under the full moon. It'll be too late after that. As soon as the full moon's passed, I won't be a semi-mer. I'll lose the ring again."

"And if we fail . . ." Aaron looked away as his voice failed.

"I lose a parent," I said.

"So do I, Emily," he said, his voice hardening.


EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE CASTLE IN THE MIST by Liz Kessler. Copyright © 2007 by Liz Kessler. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

This book is very interesting.
K. Hyatt
My daughter loves this series of books.
Melissa Frank
I would recommend this book for kids.
kiyah wolter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
So first I would like to say that this book is well-written with several tense moments and so forth. But, like all stories, there are positives and negatives.

Positives- This book is wonderful FOR AGES 8-12. I would not recommend it to anyone older then that, because it does not have very much depth. It is a good ending to the Emily series, which I have read since I was 8.

Negatives- I was extremely surprised and alarmed that there is a swear word in this book! Up until now, Emily has once or twice said "Oh, God!" or expressions like that (which I was able to overlook.) However, I cannot overlook a swear word. THIS IS A KID'S BOOK FOR PETE'S SAKE!!! I just don't understand the need for that. (Just FYI, it is on page 66, just in case you would like to know that.

Moving on I would like to say, despite all of the comments above, Emily has been my friend for years now and I think this book is a marvelous conclusion to the series. Thanks for everything, Em. :-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have read and re-read these books since I was nine and have enjoyed every one! In fact, I am thirteen years old, and still enjoy them! This one is almost a bit darker than the other Emily Windsnap books. In #1 and #2, Emily isn't generally in any VERY dangerous peril (yeah, yeah, I know that getting her dad out of prison and dealing with a ferocious monster are pretty dangerous, but just hear me out.) In the other two books, there were some funny, happy moments where you can just let out a sigh of relief as you read and let the stress of her situation lift for a bit. But in this book, it is almost constant danger and worry. It is incredibly suspenceful since her ability to be part-mermaid/part-human begins to slip away, and she becomes more like a fish-human all the time! There is almost nothing funny or happy to relieve the cliff-hanging moments, so I wish there was a little more of that. Also, on page 66, I was unpleasantly surprised to find a swear word in Capital letters! I never thought I'd see a word like that in an Emily Windsnap. Here is the quote-

"****, those vows!" Neptune bellowed.

This book could be compared to "Shrek, The Final Chapter" (for lack of a better example.) It is very dark and gloomy until you finally find relief at the climax. The only exception is that Shrek has funny points and relatively happy moments. I think that is the only thing that this book is lacking. Also, I think that the swear word was not neccessary. There are other words that could effectively express Neptune's displeasure and anger without inserting a swear word in a children's book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE CASTLE IN THE MIST is the third installment in Liz Kessler's continuing saga of Emily and her friends and family in their half-ocean, half-earthly community.

Emily is a perky kid who enjoys being a mermaid, although her mother seems to be having a difficult time reconciling the fact that Emily's more academic studies have been put aside for her mermaid studies --- oceanography and underwater hairstyling. The ever-widening chasm between the lives she shares with each of her parents starts to cause a rift between them, and Emily fears they will break up.

But then King Neptune, still angered from the loss of his only intermarriage with a human, learns that Emily has uncovered the diamond ring he gave to his beloved so long ago --- which he had hoped would never surface again. As a result, he decides to ban intermarriage between merpeople and humans and curses the offspring of such unions. Emily is forced to become either fully human or a complete sea creature, thus ensuring that one of her parents would be lost to her forever. Can Emily possibly locate the other missing ring that will break all the curses? Is there anyone who can help her save the day before it's too late?

This is a complex story with deepening questions about love and its meanings, anger and its consequences, redemption and hope for the future --- all good things couched in a lushly detailed story about underwater life that should capture the attention and hearts of girls who love adventurous, romantic tales encased in charming fantasy elements.

EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE CASTLE IN THE MIST is a great book, one that can be enjoyed on land or at sea and certainly raises the bar on mermaid stories for young girls.

--- Reviewed by Jana Siciliano
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist by Liz Kessler is a fantasy must-read for all preteens! It starts when the main character, Emily Windsnap, finds a beautiful diamond ring buried in the sand, so she puts it on... but then she can't take it off! It becomes a burden (it's cursed and magical), and King Neptune, the king of the sea, is not happy (more like infuriated) with Emily... Read the book to find out why he's so angry with her. Since he is so angry, he sets a curse on her which will result in her never seeing one of her parents again... can she stop the curse?

I just LOVED this book. LOVED it. It was very mysterious and interesting. When Emily was trying to get the other ring, and she was trying to swim to Shona, I was so interested that the real world faded away and I was pulled into the story, not thinking about one other thing besides the book (Seriously!)! When Ms. Kessler was describing the ocean and surroundings, she did a great job, too.

When a book is by Liz Kessler, you know it's going to be great! She always has an interesting fantasy story to tell, whether it's about a mermaid or a fairy or time-traveling. This one happens to be about a mermaid, and it is the third book in the series. Liz Kessler is a great author from England, and she is a very popular author of children's fantasy stories. Never stop writing! :)

Kristina Cardoza
Children's Book Author
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More About the Author

Liz Kessler used to live in Manchester but had taken a year off to travel around Europe in a camper van. She studied English at Loughborough University, has worked as a teacher and a journalist and has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University.

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