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The Tail of Emily Windsnap Paperback – March 14, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Series: Emily Windsnap
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763628115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763628116
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–Seventh-grader Emily Windsnap has never learned to swim, in spite of the fact that she and her mother live on a houseboat. When she finally takes a swimming class at school, her legs turn into a fishtail. She tries to hide her strange affliction, but something draws her to the sparkling surf. Soon, she is secretly gliding through the water as a mermaid. Below the waves, she meets Shona, also 12, who takes her to mermaid school and leads her on several adventures. When Emily learns the intriguing history of the Shiprock community and of illegal marriages between humans and merpeople, she begins to look for her merman father. Danger, humor, confrontation, and even a trial before Neptune all play a part in her search. Eventually, she finds her dad and comes to understand the truth about her oddly controlling neighbor, Mr. Beeston; her mother's dislike of water; and her parents' love affair. All ends well when the family is reunited and swims away to live a new life on a secret merfolk island. This fantasy has some delightful moments, but not enough to keep it afloat. Characters are not fully developed, the plot wavers between complicated and oversimplified, and the transition from merworld to human is not smooth.–Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. This first novel opens with a classic teaser: "Can you keep a secret?" It turns out that the secret is a particularly juicy one. Though outwardly a normal seventh-grader, Emily Windsnap transforms into a mermaid when she goes swimming. The phenomenon worries her but thrills her, too, especially when she discovers an underwater "mer-city" not far from where she lives, and begins to learn the answers to nagging questions about her origins: Why did her father abandon her when she was a baby? Why can't her mother remember details about her husband? After a new mermaid friend mentions "illegal marriages" between mer-people and humans, readers will guess where things are headed--long before Emily herself does. Emily's eventual reunion with her merman father seems overly reliant on luck and coincidence, but her determination keeps things cruising along, and the premise of someone slipping easily into a shimmery underwater world has considerable allure. Light, imagination-tickling fare ideal for middle-grade girls, with charming ink-wash illustrations scattered throughout. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

That's right --- Emily is a mermaid!
KidsReads
I enjoyed this book very much I would recommend this book to anyone who has young children and who likes fantasy books.
Big Head Pandas
She couldn't put it down and then couldn't wait to get the next book in the series.
Jim B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By L. Laskey on May 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My 10 year old daughter and I read this one together. It was an impulse buy, so I didn't know what to expect. We loved this book. It really captures what it would be like for Emily to discover the changes she is going through (might also be helpful for girls going through puberty). The mystery developed nicely with just enough clues to keep the reader (young and old-er) turning pages. My daughter would beg for more time whenever we had to put the book down. Also as a teacher and a writer, this story is well-written, with great characters, good dialogue and terrific description. I am off to look for another Liz Kessler book!
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Reeves on October 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a teacher, I read several hundred children's and young adult books every year. This book was a huge disappointment. Poorly written with ridiculous situations that don't make sense (reading a paper book under the water? Not being able to scale an underwater wall? Has the author not heard of being able to SWIM over it?) and flat characters. There are some wonderful children's books out there about magical creatures. This is not one of them. :(

Actually, I should have known the book was bad. On the back cover, the only reviews are for the ARTWORK! The writing isn't even mentioned.
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Many things start to happen after Emily's first time underwater, in seventh grade swim class. She finds out she is a mermaid. Once Emily starts to explore the ocean, she finds out where her dad is. He's in the mermaid prison. She sets out in the ocean to try to free him. In the process, she is stopped many times by Mr. Beeston, the lighthouse keeper, Millie, her babysitter and hypnotizer, and the prison guards, and many other magical challenges.

The Tale of Emily Windsnap has a fun plot, but it is not very interesting. Though it is fantasy, there are some really unbelievable aspects about Emily, such as not being underwater her entire life. Emily does physically change throughout the story, but doesn't seem to grow much emotionally. Emily does become more aware of what is happening around her by the end of the book. Many things happen during the story. Because so many little things are happening, it pulls away from the real emotions and interactions with her dad. One very good thing about the book is that the setting is really described. While you read, you can really picture the setting.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Morgan-Kate on July 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read and finished this book VERY quickly, why? Because this is a dream that every girl would love, becoming a mermaid. This is a tail... I mean TALE about a girl named Emily that transforms into a mermaid only when she sets foot in the water and is human on land. She is a half mermaid half human because she soon discovered that her mother married a merman. In the deep blue sea this is apparently illegal so the father gets locked up in a underwater prison. Emily wants to meet her father badly so takes the risk of breaking into the jail. Please read this book.....it's a book EVERYONE can enjoy!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap lives on a houseboat in Brightport Harbor, but she has never learned to swim. Even though Emily begs for swimming lessons, her mom always says no. Finally, Emily persuades her mother to let her take swim class at her new school. When Emily hits the water, she gets the surprise of her life. Her long skinny legs have turned into a tail. That's right --- Emily is a mermaid!
All of a sudden, Emily's life is full of questions. Are there more mermaids out there like her? Why does her mom never seem to remember Emily's father, who left when Emily was just a baby? Who is the mysterious, menacing Mr. Beeston, who seems to be spying on Emily and her mother? And how can Emily get out of swim class before the rest of the seventh grade discovers her secret?
Emily is torn between happily exploring the undersea world of the mermaids and trying to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance. With the help of her new merfriend, Shona, Emily learns about mermaids and friendship at the same time.
Considering that this is a novel about magical creatures, THE TAIL OF EMILY WINDSNAP is surprisingly down-to-earth. Emily is a normal girl (in spite of that scaly tail), and her everyday worries about friends and family make the book seem realistic in spite of its fantastic premise. Readers will often be one or two steps ahead of Emily as she tries to solve the mystery --- Emily is sometimes a little slow to unravel the clues. Nevertheless, readers will be rooting for Emily to be reunited with her merfamily at last.
--- (...)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I recommend this book for kids in grades 2nd and 3rd because it is a chapter book and it might be too hard for 1st graders and kindergarteners and too easy for 4th and 5th graders. If you like magical things than Emily Windsnap books are for you. I give these book 5 stars because I love things like this when people do not know about their secret and find it out on their own and keep it a secret even to their parents! -Lucy N.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew G. Oh-Willeke on May 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Underneath the magic of mermaids, this story is a close cousin of "The Parent Trap" (the 1998 film, not the 1961 one, as the cell phones and cultural references are current) with the margical flourishes of "Freaky Friday" and "The Little Mermaid" thrown in for good measure. This story has a future Disney production written all over it.

It is the emotional daydream of every pre-teen girl without a father at home, who imagines that her father could be a wonderful man who left for honorable reasons, wishes that her mom and dad could get together again, and longs for a new best friend. The mother-daughter dialog rings true; Millie, her mother's New Age obsessed friend is delightful; and the fast paced, first person narrative is captivating. My 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son enjoyed it.
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