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Customer Review

on September 14, 2011
Let the reader know at the outset that I am a Christian, I homeschool my children, and that my review is written for parents like me who are concerned with finding quality literature which is entertaining and formational. If this is not your concern in looking into this book, don't read my review.
This book was engaging and well-written in terms of hooking the reader and appealing to children. I would have enjoyed it immensely as a youngster, especially since I am fond of all things animal. It was very imaginative. I liked the idea of having to hire "aunts", a theme that is a true satirical comment on our culture of broken and hurting families who have no time for their children. There were some positive themes in the book and the characters were engaging. The ending was satisfying: in other words, the good guys won squarely and the bad guys were routed.
The following issues were problematic for a child's book,,in which some very serious themes were treated lightly. All the children are from seriously unhappy and/or broken homes. One of the children's mother lived with a boyfriend who drank beer all day. The mermaids' plight arose from an abusive and adulterous husband who threw his family out. One of the mermaids was kidnapped and detained by a lustful fisherman who "pawed her with his horrible hands and tried to kiss her." There are more events in the book along these lines. I am not necessarily trying to guard my children from knowledge of the real world, but issues involving serious sin and its resulting tragedy of shattered lives should be treated as scandalous, whereas in this book they are presented cavalierly, as if they are only supposed to be funny. There is at one point a visit to a nudist colony living on an island. Excuse me, a nudist colony? In a children's book?
One of the protagonists lies to the antagonist, to make him stop causing trouble, and this is tolerated as it makes life easier for all involved (the end justifies the means fallacy). There were a couple (I'm not counting) derogatory things said about men in general, which makes one wonder whether the author has a bent. Is she feminist? Does she have a problem with men? Do the comments really not mean anything? It's hard to tell.
These problems (the lying, the "man" comments) are made more significant considering the book's main theme can be considered as a Christian allegory, notwithstanding whether the author intends it. Direct reference is made to God on more than one occasion, and not in such a manner that the characters simply believe in God, but the point of view of the book assumes God and His Providence. Since the author writes on those terms, the standards should be upheld, right? That is the foundation. Now, the coming of the Kraken causes everyone to raise their standards: they do their work especially well, they are kinder and more thoughtful toward each other, they keep themselves clean and well-dressed, all to be ready for his arrival, the exact day of which they do not know. I marveled at the correlation to the Parousia and the exhortations of Jesus in the Gospels to be ready "for you do not know the day, nor the hour", and His parables such as the ten wise virgins, the insolent householder, and so on. Further, the Kraken had not appeared for 2000 years, paralleling the incarnation having begun 2000 years ago. But what contrast with nudist colonies, adultery, etc.!
To sum up, a fun read but with some serious questions as to the appropriateness of subject matter for children, especially side by side with Christian themes.
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