Friday, July 19, 2013

The Fish Prince and Other Stories: Mermen Folk Tales by Jane Yolen and Shulamith Oppenheim (15)

Book Type: Folk Tales/ Merman stories
Author(s): Jane Yolen and Shulamith Oppenheim
Pages: 224

Mermen? Yes. Long before mermaids emerged to people our inner seas, long before they established their restless, inviting niche in human fantasy, there was the merman. Born of the human need to dominate the great fruitful oceans, to control the vast destructive seas, to regulate the healing rains, to understand the tides, the merman emerged.
The merman was water personified. The imposing water gods could be wheedled, cozened, implored, but-in the end-they were never fooled. How often were Poseidon or Neptune, Lir, Njord and the rest pictured riding the waves along inhospitable shores, shaking their magical tridents or spears or fists at the weak, imploring humans on land? The sea gods called up storms or quieted waves. They flooded the lands. They drowned the unwary.

My Review:
On this blog, you will see that I have read one or two of Jane Yolen's books and was quite impressed with her originality and creativity. Although I found this book interesting in some respects, it seemed more like a glossary or an encyclopedia or mermen and ocean/water gods. Although it did include some stories, they were really cut down in detail. What I did like about this book was that it showed a wide variety of cultures from around the world. Overall, I give this book ***-**** between 3 and 4 stars. 
-Sirenita The Selkie

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Something About A Mermaid by Carolyn Polese (14)

Book Type: Children's Book
Author: Carolyn Polese
Pages: 27

A mermaid discovered by Janie and her family at the seashore goes home with them to their city apartment.

My Review:

I would just like to start by saying that this book is over 20 years old, and it might be out of print, so finding it could be a challenge. Try checking your local library if you found my review interesting! I really thought the mermaid written in this book was very new and original! She is tiny and small with an otter-like face and she is just so cute! When reading about her I wanted to pull her out of the story and read mermaid books to her! For a children's book, I found something a bit odd. There is one scene where the girl Janie is taking a shower with the mermaid (I guess to replicate the ocean) and shows her partially nude. In another instance, one of the characters says "damn!" I've never seen such things in children's books, but I guess the guidelines were different back then. Overall, I think this book had a really sweet storyline, and the mermaid was precious! If you can find it, give it a read! I give this book (***-****) between 3 and 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Mermaids by Lori Hile (13)

Book Type: Children's Science Book
Author: Lori Hile
Pages: 48

Tales of mysterious and alluring mermaids have been told for thousands of years. Are they all just myths and legends, or could some of these stories be true? Using the scientific method and available information, this book attempts to find out!

My Review:
 Out of all the "scientific" mermaid books I have read that are mostly comprised  theories and what not, this one is definitely interesting! What I enjoyed most was the fact that their was a whole chapter on legendary sightings that have occurred throughout hundreds of years. I didn't even hear about some of these sightings, so it is always cool to learn something new about mermaid legends.This book also included possible theories of mermaid existence, such as the aquatic ape theory. Even though this theory remains plausible, the way the author debunked it was a bit weak. The book also includes a small section on Shiloh Pepin and Milagros Cerron, both born with a disease called sirenomelia, a condition in which the skin is joined between the fingers and toes. Unfortunately, this disease can affect major arteries and organs, and Shiloh Pepin succumbed to her disease at the age of 10. However, Milagros Cerron is still alive. The book also goes on to explain how there are mermaid performers and what sailors could have possibly seen at sea. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that the author seemed to be debunking the mystery as much as possible, without leaving much open thought to mermaids possible existence. Overall, I give this book (*****) 5 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (12)

Book Type: Novel
Author: Aimee Friedman
Pages: 320

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate. There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.

My Review:
Summer romance, hidden secrets and new friendships are found is what fills the pages of this beautifully-written book. What I enjoyed most about reading "Sea Change" is that the setting was described beautifully, and takes part mostly around the beaches of Selkie Island, which reminds me of my own childhood adventures on Fire Island, Long Island. It was actually very comforting to read before bed! I also enjoyed seeing the transformations of the characters in the book. Miranda has a lot of qualities that I saw in myself when I was her age, especially her geeky-nerd side! She is such a humble person, and it's quite cute that she doesn't even see how beautiful she is. Leo is a character I can see many female readers falling for, especially between the ages of 15-18. He has long blond hair, a well sculpted body, an adorable personality and he's a sweetheart, which makes him a perfect match for Miranda. This cover bothers me though. I don't feel as if I am seeing Leo when I look at the boy on this cover... In fact, I feel like I'm looking at Robert Pattinson!  

I do have to admit though, the many romances that play out in this book were slightly cheesy, but that is to be expected in summer romance. After all, the heat makes people do crazy things! I found the ending to be slightly confusing, and the reader is left wondering, "What's going to happen now?" However, I do think this was a beautifully written book, but I would only recommend it to readers are around the ages of 15-17. I give this book (*****) 5 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie
PS: here is the full cover!