I'm back with another #TeenTuesdays Book Talk! We are celebrating "Imagine Your Story" during our Summer Reading Program - so I thought I'd talk about a graphic novel that combines a fairy tale and folklore.
Fish Girl takes elements of The Little Mermaid (Hans Christian Andersen) and The Girl Who Turned into a Fish (a Filipino Folktale) and spins a modern-day, strange story.
The Mermaid (or Mira, as she is named later on), lives in a fish tank for a sideshow attraction by the seaside. This aquarium is run by King Neptune, the sea god, with his mighty trident and mysteriously flimsy-looking crown.
When a curious girl visits the aquarium one day, she spots the mysterious Mermaid and the two become friends. Neptune always instructs the Mermaid to hide - he doesn't want humans seeing her and taking her away. But the visiting girl wants to help her! She names her "Miracle," or "Mira" for short. Mira cannot speak, but they understand each other perfectly. Mira wishes she could have legs and walk and have the freedom that her friend has. The girl visits frequently and teaches Mira about the rest of the world.
Neptune tells Mira stories about her family and how he has protected her. But are they true?
Mira realizes that King Neptune is a fraud - he controls the waves in the aquarium from a machine! His trident is a remote control! Also, he is no friend - he abducted her when she was a baby mermaid and has been using her all this time to make a living.
Can she find a way to escape the tank and find her freedom?
Callie's Opinion: This book left me feeling on edge (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). It didn't leave me with a happy feeling, although the ending is not a bad one. This title is intended for middle grade readers, but I believe teens will find it more intriguing. There are mature elements mentioned here: abduction and kidnapping, independence and freedom. It is more than just a child's mermaid book and it left me thinking about it afterwards for quite some time. The illustrations are beautiful and simple. I hope Mira found what she was looking for!
To check out Fish Girl by David Wiesner & Donna Jo Napoli, click HERE!