Author: Kathi Appelt
No. of Pages: 402
First Released: May 18, 2010
Synopsis (Courtesy of Joseph-Beth Booksellers): “To ten-year-old Keeper, this moon is her chance to fix all that has gone wrong…and so much has gone wrong. But she knows who can make things right again: Meggie Marie, her mermaid mother who swam away when Keeper was just three. A blue moon calls the mermaids to gather at the sandbar, and that’s exactly where she is headed — in a small boat, in the middle of the night, with only her dog, BD (Best Dog), and a seagull named Captain. When the riptide pulls at the boat, tugging her away from the shore and deep into the rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico, panic sets in, and the fairy tales that lured her out there go tumbling into the waves. Maybe the blue moon isn’t magic and maybe the sandbar won’t sparkle with mermaids and maybe — Oh, no…”Maybe” is just too difficult to bear.”
Comments and Critique: Before reading this book, I debated as to whether I should read it aloud to my children or if I should read it first to determine the age-appropriateness of the story. I opted for the latter option but knew within the first five chapters that I would be reading this to my daughter and that she would love every minute of it.
On the surface, Keeper has everything that will appeal to children. Animals speak. The main character is a little girl who just wants to find her mother. There is magic and mystery, some tension but nothing too scary. I found myself, at the end of each page, delighting in the charm, envisioning the delight my daughter will get at reading it together.
However, this is not just a story for adults. One of the most fascinating aspects of Keeper is the main story told from different points of view – at first the reader only gets Keeper’s point of view. As the story progresses, the reader finally gleans the truth as the adults are allowed to tell parts of their stories. In addition, the dual nature of the book trickles down into the messages/lessons to be learned from the story. There is one for children to learn and one for adults to learn, neither of which are preachy or blatant. This cross-over appeal will allow parents and children to both appreciate the story.
In general, Keeper is simply charming. It solves the mystery of the worst day ever in a realistic manner, while keeping some of the mystery of the ocean alive. I cannot wait to read it to my daughter and share this delightful story with her! I anticipate her reactions, her enjoyment, her wonder and amazement at each aspect of the story. I suspect that my daughter will be among many to enjoy this fantastic story from Ms. Appelt.
Thank you to Lucille Rettino and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for this advanced reading copy! This book meets the requirements for the 100+ Reading Challenge and the Read ‘n Review Challenge. In addition, my children chose this book for me to read out of a stack of over 90 unread books; therefore it counts for the Random Reads Challenge as well.