Thursday, February 08, 2018

Fish Girl by Donna Jo Napoli & David Wiesner

On a beach much like ours, a dodgy tourist attraction, 
Ocean Wonders, claims to have a mermaid. The proprietor, King Neptune himself, shows off the other sea life from shark to turtle, but the Fish Girl is always disappearing around a corner or behind the octopus. One day a curious visitor manages to meet Fish Girl in secret and to awaken her curiosity as well.

Take the timeless tale of Rapunzel and toss in P. T. Barnum. Fill it with mysteries and subtle magic, and photograph it with the camera from David Wiesner’s Flotsam. Give the story depth as the fish girl learns her life doesn’t have to be constrained by the rules she’s been told by "Neptune." Give her a friend who is determined to see her free. You will have a spellbinding graphic novel that is stunningly relevant to today’s headlines, but will not fade with them.

Fish Girl will speak to every child who is on the threshold of growing up and taking charge of her life. Donna Jo Napoli created a more direct fairy tale retelling in The Prince of the Pond: Otherwise Known as De Fawg Pin.  Katherine Applegate's 
The One and Only Ivan offers another view of exotic animals held captive for show. Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman is another mermaid who finds friendship with human girls.

Review by Carolyn Caywood, retired from VBPL  

 

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