Emily’s Big Discovery (The World of Emily Windsnap #1)

Emily’s Big Discovery (The World of Emily Windsnap #1)
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Release Date
April 12, 2022
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Introducing an exciting new line of readers that brings half-mermaid Emily Windsnap—star of the New York Times best-selling series—to a younger audience.

Even though she lives in a houseboat, Emily Windsnap doesn’t know how to swim. Her mother has always cautioned her to stay out of the water. But it’s hard to make friends at the beach when everyone else is having fun in the waves! So when swimming lessons start at school, Emily is excited to finally have the chance to learn. Standing beside the pool, she feels the water calling her, but when she jumps in, she gets a strange, kind of scary sensation . . . like her legs are stuck together. Eager to figure out what’s happening, Emily later dives into the sea. She gets that weird feeling again, but this time she looks down to see that her legs are gone—replaced by a shiny, beautiful tail!

Welcome to Emily’s Big Discovery, the first in a sparkling, charmingly illustrated series of readers. With a mermaid tail and an entire ocean awaiting her, Emily is eager to meet new friends and swim off on big adventures in this inviting new series for the younger set, based on the best-selling middle-grade series by Liz Kessler.

Editor review

1 review
Just Add Water!
Overall rating
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While it might be too soon for original readers of Kessler's The Tale of Emily Windsnap (2003) to have children of their own, the nine book series is still in print. Emerging readers can get a good introduction to Emily, a girl who discovers she is half-human and half-mermaid with this early reader book.

Even though Emily and her mother live on a boat, her mother won't let her play in the ocean because she thinks it is too dangerous, and you never know what it out there in the water. Emily isn't happy with this, since she sees her friends having fun, but she gets a clue as to why her mother is keeping her out of the water when swim classes are held at school. She starts to feel very strange in the water and has to be helped out. The instructor tells her it was just a cramp, but Emily is suspicious. One night she sneaks out to take a dip in the ocean, and she feels her legs turning into a fin! When she gets caught in some rocks, she is saved by Shona, another mermaid who is surprised that Emily didn't know she was a mermaid. The two are happy to be friends, and as she sneaks back home, Emily looks forward to more underwater adventures.
Good Points
The illustrations in this are particularly charming, especially the sandy beach scenes. While there are no cultural connections explained in the text, Emily's mother and Shona have darker complexions, and the scenes at school show children of a variety of ethnicities. The background of the illustrations often take the entire page, and the text is incorporated into the scene instead of being relegated to just the bottom of the page, which I always enjoy.

Books where children have magical powers or abilities are always popular with young readers, especially when they are fun tales of adventure involving fairies, unicorns, or other magical creatures. This story is stripped down from the original but still is a great mermaid story for readers who enjoyed June's Mermicorn Island series, Dadey's Mermaid Tales, or Hazen's Mermaid Mary Margaret.
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