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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Keeper Hardcover – May 18, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416950605
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416950608
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 4-7 Ten-year-old Keeper believes in wishes and magic, and why shouldn't she? Her mother, gone for the last seven years, is a mermaid, after all! So on the day of the Blue Moon, when everything she does has a disastrous result, Keeper knows her only option is to row out past the sandbar to the treacherous open water of the Gulf of Mexico, accompanied by BD (Best Dog) and Captain the seagull, and hope her mermaid mama can tell her how to fix things. Keeper is funny, feisty, at times older than her years, and often so stubborn that readers will have to shake their heads. In other words, quite realistic. The adults in the story are beautifully drawn, and absolutely believable, and the Gulf Coast setting is practically a character itself. The tender romance between two teenaged boys years earlier is hinted at, and it is sensitively portrayed, as is the romance between Keeper's guardian, Signe, and the damaged former soldier, Dogie. Filled with love, wild adventure, family drama, and even a touch of true fantasy, this is a deeply satisfying tale. Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Rare is the middle-grade book with an epigraph from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, but that famous poem's sense of longing is well suited to this thoughtful story. Ten-year-old Keeper lives on the Texas coast with her guardian and a small, close community of people and animals, who have all been looking forward to the next blue moon and the traditions and happiness they expect will come with it. Instead, the community experiences a string of disappointing events, and Keeper, feeling responsible, sails away to find her birth mother, whom she believes is a mermaid capable of making everything right. After being tossed about by the sea, Keeper makes it safely back to shore, though any growth in her wisdom and awareness that occurs during the story's 24-hour span is left unclear. Occasional, hazy illustrations add to the mythical mood. A complex plot structure, varying points of view, subtle symbolism, and allusions to classics, from Lewis Carroll's Alice stories to old sea legends, make for a literary exploration of the search for love and meaning that will absorb and reward patient, thoughtful readers. Grades 4-7. --Andrew Medlar

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Alayne VINE VOICE on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Keeper is a ten-year old girl living on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. Keeper's mother, Meggie Marie, left her when she was a child so she lives with a young woman named Signe. Signe told Keeper that her mother was a mermaid and went back to the sea after Keeper was born. So Keeper grows up believing in mermaids and fairytales. She thinks she's a special girl with special mermaid abilities.

The book opens with Keeper being very excited for the coming evening. Everything is supposed to go perfectly that night, the night of a rare blue moon. Signe will make her blue moon gumbo; their neighbor Mr. Beauchamp will see his night flowers bloom and be done waiting for the boy he once loved to find him again; and Dogie from down the beech will sing his two-word song to Signe. But Keeper messes it all up. Wracked with guilt Keeper turns to the only person who can help her, her mother, Meggie Marie the mermaid. Desperate to find her mother so she can fix everything, Keeper embarks on an ocean-bound journey and gets swept away into danger and desperation.

Keeper reads as a children's book should read, simple language, pictures to enhance the imagination, a fun story with adventure and a little girl who doesn't know better. But underneath the fairytale of talking crabs and seagulls who eat watermelon are adult topics. Unwed mothers who abandon their children, a scary birth scene in the middle of the ocean, age and death, a veteran traumatized from his experience in the war, and love that doesn't necessarily meet everyone elses expectations. These are real-world scenarios placed in a children's book and I can't imagine an eight year old, no matter how mature, understanding some of the more difficult themes.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Miss Darcy VINE VOICE on August 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First, the multilayered aspect is quite gorgeous. There is a lot of deliberate repetition (e.g., the refrain of Stupid Crabs!) and the same events are often told from multiple points of view (including the animals' point of view). It is a book to be read more than once simply to appreciate the author's craft.

But who is the ideal reader? A child or an adult?

The book is recommended for grades 4-7. However, my nephew is a reluctant reader who is about to enter 6th grade, and I do not believe he would "get" this book anytime soon. Note that the Booklist review calls it "a literary exploration of the search for love and meaning that will absorb and reward patient, thoughtful readers." Whether or not they SHOULD be, are kids that age patient and thoughtful? Will they really be willing to invest in what boils down to a somewhat slow story? Or are they looking for an action-packed adventure like Nim's Island? If kids can't get hooked on a book, they aren't going to benefit from it, no matter how well written and lovely it may be.

Teachers should acquire a copy and decide for themselves. Keeper would certainly be a fantastic way to show how multiple genres can be combined into a complete piece of writing. For example, one chapter contains only a short poem. Later chapters, at the climax, simply contain the word Keeper (with the letters drawn out). Young writers will benefit from exposure to this sort of variety in a text.

At the same time, I'm not sure what to make of the love story between the two boys. It seems a bit forced: "let's add a little surprise and diversity and modern acceptance of all forms of love.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alison on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure what I think about Keeper. The prose is incredibly lyrical, practically poetry. The short sentences made for a fast read. It would be wonderful read out loud. It is told from alternating perspectives of all the characters: Keeper, her aunt Signe, her neighbors Mr. Beauchamp and Dogie, two dogs (BD and Too), a cat (Sinbad), and a seagull (Captain). Appelt does a great job getting in the heads of each character. I particularly liked the animals, even though they felt a bit juvenile. While the reader could hear their thoughts, they still seemed like animals - their thoughts fit those of a dog, cat, or seagull (for the most part at least). We read about the adults' problems. Dogie is haunted by his time in the war (I'm not sure which one - Vietnam?). Signe is haunted by the burden of raising Keeper and the disappearance of Meggie Marie (Keeper's mother).

Keeper is convinced that her mother Meggie Marie is a mermaid. She's also convinced that crabs can talk. That's what sets off this whole bad day. Dogie brought in crabs for Signe to cook in her famous Blue Moon Gumbo. Keeper is convinced that the crabs called out to her for help, so she sets them free. The day just goes downhill from there - everyone suffers from Keeper's mistakes. Eventually, Keeper escapes in the middle of the night in Dogie's boat rowing over the dangerous waters to the sandbar where she believes her mother, the mermaid, will help her.

As a character, Keeper frustrates me. She is a sweet girl, obviously much loved by the adults around her. She works in Dogie's surf shop polishing to boards, so is at least somewhat responsible. Yet she is convinced that mermaids are real and that her mother is one - so much so that she risks her life to go find Meggie Marie.
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