The Merman

Overview

From the beloved author of Babe: The Gallant Pig comes a charming fantasy about 10-year-old Zeta, who befriends a merman while on vacation in Scotland.

While vacationing in Scotland, Zeta meets a rather unusual fellow. He's a terrific swimmer. He chats with seals. And he has a fish tail. Marinus is a merman — definitely not your average summer friend. Who else could teach Zeta everything from swimming to ...
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Overview

From the beloved author of Babe: The Gallant Pig comes a charming fantasy about 10-year-old Zeta, who befriends a merman while on vacation in Scotland.

While vacationing in Scotland, Zeta meets a rather unusual fellow. He's a terrific swimmer. He chats with seals. And he has a fish tail. Marinus is a merman — definitely not your average summer friend. Who else could teach Zeta everything from swimming to astronomy to French? Everything's an adventure when Marinus is around, and as the summer ends, Zeta knows she'll miss her new friend terribly.

Luckily, Marinus has one last surprise in store for her — one that will last a lifetime. . . .

While on vacation in Scotland on her tenth birthday, Zeta meets a wise, kindly old merman who teaches her not only to swim, but also many, many more fascinating things.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On her 10th birthday, a lonely girl on vacation in Scotland has a chance meeting with a merman, and their friendship leaves a lasting impression. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Stacey Evers
Ten-year-old Zeta meets a 142-year-old merman while vacationing one summer with her family in the northernmost part of Scotland. In this fast-paced, dialogue-driven story, the merman teaches Zeta how to swim, reveals secrets of the sea, and inspires her to want to learn more about the world around her. Although this story lacks the humor and plot development of King-Smith's well-known Babe: The Gallant Pig, it brings to life the beauty of the universe and the creatures that live in it.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-King-Smith is a master storyteller with a lively sense of humor. Unfortunately, he employs a heavy hand here, and the book misses the mark. Zeta is vacationing with her parents in the northernmost part of Scotland. She's lonely and bored until she meets Marinus, a merman. He lectures her on astronomy and leads her by the hand into deep water where suddenly she can swim. Anything that he teaches her, she will never forget. At summer's end they say good-bye; only Marinus knows that he will not live to see the child again. When she returns to Scotland in two years, he has been replaced by Thalassa, his granddaughter, who teaches Zeta the song of the merpeople so that she can teach her appropriately receptive descendants the glories of the sea. The final chapter is touching, when Zeta, now "Grannyzee" to her grandson, calls a mermaid to their side. The author's Jenius (Hyperion, 1996) also addresses the wondrous powers of a great teacher blessed with a great student, but that book makes readers laugh out loud while seeing that learning can be as much fun as teaching. The Merman, on the other hand, remains a pedestrian read until the last few pages when real emotions enter the story. Readers finally feel the magic of fantasy when it is too late; the story has ended.-Judith Everitt, Orchard Hill Elementary School, Skillman, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440417187
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

After 20 years as a farmer, Dick King-Smith turned to teaching and then to writing. He is now the author of dozens of novels for children, including Babe: The Gallant Pig.
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