Keeper

Keeper

4.2 18
by Kathi Appelt, August Hall
     
 

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Newbery Medal Honoree Kathi Appelt enchants with a tale about mermaids, mermen, and what happens when you believe in fairy tales for too long.

Keeper was born in the ocean, and she believes she is part mermaid. So when she accidentally sets off a series of disasters, she goes out looking for her mother—an unpredictable and uncommonly gorgeous woman

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Overview

Newbery Medal Honoree Kathi Appelt enchants with a tale about mermaids, mermen, and what happens when you believe in fairy tales for too long.

Keeper was born in the ocean, and she believes she is part mermaid. So when she accidentally sets off a series of disasters, she goes out looking for her mother—an unpredictable and uncommonly gorgeous woman who swam away when Keeper was three. Keeper heads right for the ocean, right for the sandbar where mermaids are known to gather on full moon nights. But her boat is too small for the surf—and much too small for the storm that is brewing on the horizon.
Kathi Appelt follows her award-winning and New York Times bestselling novel The Underneath with this stunning, mysterious, and breathtaking tale of a girl who outgrows fairy tales just a little too late—and learns in the end that there is nothing more magical and mythical than love itself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When you’re 10 years old and you’ve had a really bad day, you look for your mother. That’s what Keeper is doing—only Keeper believes her mother, who left when she was three, is a mermaid, so her plan involves getting a rowboat out into the sea late that night. And because Keeper has let down Signe, her guardian; Dogie, her best friend/employer; and even Mr. Beauchamp, her surrogate grandfather, she has to carry out that plan alone. Amid scattered pieces of August’s dreamlike spot art, Appelt unfurls Keeper’s magical story slowly, looking back over Keeper’s day and forward to her longed-for reunion with the mother. As in her Newbery Honor-winning The Underneath, the point of view shifts between characters human, animal, and otherwise, but with less of the precocity that sometimes encumbered its predecessor. Texas’s Gulf Coast, alive with Cajun spice and superstition, provides a mysterious haven for them all. A narrative thread based on a tender love story between two teenage boys may draw controversy, but Appelt masterfully balances themes of loss and renewal and demonstrates that magic works in unexpected ways. In so doing, she has written another keeper. Ages 8-12. (May)
From the Publisher
On a day when everything goes wrong, a little girl relies on the magic of the blue moon to turn things around. Since her mother swam away seven years ago, ten-year-old Keeper has lived happily with Signe on a remote slice of Texas coast, convinced that her mother’s a mermaid. Keeper’s waited all summer for the blue moon, when Signe will make blue moon gumbo, their friend Dogie will propose to Signe and their elderly neighbor’s night-blooming cereus will flower. But when she accidentally spoils everything, Keeper sets out under the blue moon in a small boat, determined to row across dangerous Gulf waters to find her mother. While the action occurs in a single day, Appelt relies on flashbacks to flesh out her diverse human, animal and mythical characters. Deftly spinning together mermaid lore, local legend and natural history, this stunning tale proves “every landscape has its magical beings,” and the most unlikely ones can form a perfect family. Hall’s black-and-white illustrations lend perspective and immediacy. Beautiful and evocative—an absolute “keeper.” — KIRKUS, May 1, 2010, STAR

When you’re 10 years old and you’ve had a really bad day, you look for your mother. That’s what Keeper is doing—only Keeper believes her mother, who left when she was three, is a mermaid, so her plan involves getting a rowboat out into the sea late that night. And because Keeper has let down Signe, her guardian; Dogie, her best friend/employer; and even Mr. Beauchamp, her surrogate grandfather, she has to carry out that plan alone. Amid scattered pieces of August’s dreamlike spot art, Appelt unfurls Keeper’s magical story slowly, looking back over Keeper’s day and forward to her longed-for reunion with the mother. As in her Newbery Honor–winning The Underneath, the point of view shifts between characters human, animal, and otherwise, but with less of the precocity that sometimes encumbered its predecessor. Texas’s Gulf Coast, alive with Cajun spice and superstition, provides a mysterious haven for them all. A narrative thread based on a tender love story between two teenage boys may draw controversy, but Appelt masterfully balances themes of loss and renewal and demonstrates that magic works in unexpected ways. In so doing, she has written another keeper. - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, May 3, 2010 STARRED REVIEW

Ten-year-old Keeper believes in wishes and magic, and why shouldn’t she? Her mother, gone for the last seven years, is a mermaid, after all! So on the day of the Blue Moon, when everything she does has a disastrous result, Keeper knows her only option is to row out past the sandbar to the treacherous open water of the Gulf of Mexico, accompanied by BD (Best Dog) and Captain the seagull, and hope her mermaid mama can tell her how to fix things. Keeper is funny, feisty, at times older than her years, and often so stubborn that readers will have to shake their heads. In other words, quite realistic. The adults in the story are beautifully drawn, and absolutely believable, and the Gulf Coast setting is practically a character itself. The tender romance between two teenaged boys years earlier is hinted at, and it is sensitively portrayed, as is the romance between Keeper’s guardian, Signe, and the damaged former soldier, Dogie. Filled with love, wild adventure, family drama, and even a touch of true fantasy, this is a deeply satisfying tale.–Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

SLJ July 1, 2010 STAR

Children's Literature - Summer Whiting
Keeper has found herself in a sea of trouble, thanks to ten little crabs. After setting them free from becoming the main ingredient in a stewing gumbo, a series of unfortunate events occur that force her to make a choice: she must go out into the sea and search for her mermaid mother, for her magic is the only thing that will be able to get Keeper out of this mess! Instead, Keeper finds herself in a much more dire situation than she ever thought possible, causing alarm and panic along the way in the hearts of those who love her the most. Keeper's journey carries a bigger significance than she ever thought possible. Truths will be revealed and she will learn that sometimes an unconventional family is often the very best kind. Appelt creates a magical tale that will evoke thought and wonder. This should be read with care by mature readers, as some of the material is quite adult, including sensitive references to homosexuality. Reviewer: Summer Whiting
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Ten-year-old Keeper believes in wishes and magic, and why shouldn't she? Her mother, gone for the last seven years, is a mermaid, after all! So on the day of the Blue Moon, when everything she does has a disastrous result, Keeper knows her only option is to row out past the sandbar to the treacherous open water of the Gulf of Mexico, accompanied by BD (Best Dog) and Captain the seagull, and hope her mermaid mama can tell her how to fix things. Keeper is funny, feisty, at times older than her years, and often so stubborn that readers will have to shake their heads. In other words, quite realistic. The adults in the story are beautifully drawn, and absolutely believable, and the Gulf Coast setting is practically a character itself. The tender romance between two teenaged boys years earlier is hinted at, and it is sensitively portrayed, as is the romance between Keeper's guardian, Signe, and the damaged former soldier, Dogie. Filled with love, wild adventure, family drama, and even a touch of true fantasy, this is a deeply satisfying tale.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
On a day when everything goes wrong, a little girl relies on the magic of the blue moon to turn things around. Since her mother swam away seven years ago, ten-year-old Keeper has lived happily with Signe on a remote slice of Texas coast, convinced that her mother's a mermaid. Keeper's waited all summer for the blue moon, when Signe will make blue moon gumbo, their friend Dogie will propose to Signe and their elderly neighbor's night-blooming cereus will flower. But when she accidentally spoils everything, Keeper sets out under the blue moon in a small boat, determined to row across dangerous Gulf waters to find her mother. While the action occurs in a single day, Appelt relies on flashbacks to flesh out her diverse human, animal and mythical characters. Deftly spinning together mermaid lore, local legend and natural history, this stunning tale proves "every landscape has its magical beings," and the most unlikely ones can form a perfect family. Hall's black-and-white illustrations lend perspective and immediacy. Beautiful and evocative-an absolute "keeper." (author's note) (Fiction. 8-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416950615
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
05/22/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
399
Sales rank:
342,072
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Keeper


  • Keeper leaned over the edge of the boat. In the darkness of the night, she glared at the black surface of the water.

    “You stupid crabs!” She sputtered as she said it. Keeper knew that Signe would be mad if she heard her use that word, “stupid,” but it was the only one that seemed to fit, so she said it again, this time with more force. “Stupid!”

    She hoped the not-allowed word would sink down to the bottom of the pond and etch its way into the crabs’ hard shells. She couldn’t see them, but she knew they were down there, scuttling along the bottom of the pond.

    In her entire ten years she had never heard crabs speak before. And then, that very morning, all ten of them had called out to her.

    Those ten crabs had turned this whole day into a disaster.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid crabs!

    Keeper checked the rope that held her boat to the pier. It was still too tight to untie it. She needed the moon to rise, which would make the tide rise, then the boat rise, which would make the rope go slack, which would mean she could untie the knot, which would mean she could set her plan into action. Her perfect plan.

    “Come on, moon,” she implored. Didn’t it know she was in a hurry? As soon as she said the word “moon,” she chewed on her bottom lip. So much had depended upon tonight’s moon, a blue moon, second full moon of the month.

    First, Signe’s gumbo.

    Then, Dogie’s two-word song.

    Finally, Mr. Beauchamp’s night-blooming cyrus.

    All three of those things had depended upon the blue moon, and all of them, every one, had been ruined.

    Ruined by… CRABS!

    Keeper never wanted to see another crab in her entire life! Never, never, never!

    And now she needed the moon to turn the tide around and pull her out of the pond, through the channel, and into the breakers until she got to the sandbar.

    That was the plan… or at least the first part of the plan.

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  • Meet the Author

    Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows. She has two grown children and lives in Texas with her husband. Visit her at KathiAppelt.com.

    August Hall has brought his creative talent to both Pixar and Dreamworks. He lives in Hollywood, California.

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