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Keeper Hardcover – May 18, 2010
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From School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the opening pages, I found it a little hard to get into the narrative voice of this book, with its many exclamation points and repeated words to simulate the point of view of an... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Margery L. Goldstein
I purchased this book for my daughter, who is an avid reader, and while beyond her years academically and philosophically, still believes in Fairy Tales. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kim Joy
This book really spoke to me. This book is one like I have never read before. I would rate this book for ages 9 and older. ( :Published 19 months ago by william foster
Great story about a girl trying to please everybody in her life and feeling like she's failing miserably. Then trying to make things right really puts herself in harm's way. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Aunt Deb
The book keeper is an amazing book filled with magic and surprise. Once you finish you will be so sad that it is over. Here is a quick summary of the book for you... Read morePublished on July 17, 2014 by peaceloveandfun
Keeper is the third Appelt book I have read in the past few months (the others were The Underneath and The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp). Read morePublished on June 3, 2014 by Lissa Johnston
I would NEVER recommend. My daughter and I were reading this and I was shocked at the very mature themes casually introduced. There should be warning labels on this book.Published on May 7, 2014 by RAH
This story just dragged for me - book on tape read by the author. It was a story of a ten year old girl, named Keeper, who was left by her uncaring mother, at age three, and was... Read morePublished on January 21, 2014 by Cindy Roe
I love her writing and how she weaves in the natural world and perspectives of animals. I read this to my son at bedtime and we have wonderful discussion s about family... Read morePublished on August 25, 2013 by J. L. Lessin