When the unlikely hero of Selfors's assured debut, a luckless sixth grader named Boomerang "Boom" Broom, inadvertently brings home a baby mermaid instead of cheap seafood from the fish market for dinner, he sets off a madcap chain of events that turns his house bright pink, transforms his bathroom into a tropical beach replete with banana tree and monkey, puts his little sister Mertyle's life in grave danger, and miraculously heals his dysfunctional family from the sudden and bizarre loss of his mother. The baby mermaid, the ill-tempered antithesis of Disney's Princess Ariel with razor-sharp teeth and green-seaweed hair, possesses powerful magic that, at first, makes Mertyle's unwitting wishes come true; but the merbaby also brings with it a deadly curse that soon afflicts Boom's sister in the form of a bizarre white fungus. With time running out, can Boom find a cure for his fuzz-covered sibling? Featuring some outlandishly funny characters (among them the villainous, "big-butted" principal Mrs. Prunewallop and Halvor, the family cook who models himself on Erik the Red), Selfors's adventure also subtly explores serious themes like grief, adversity and misfortune. In a nutshell-or, more fittingly, a conch shell-her nimble fantasy is about Boom's journey of self-discovery and the feeling that comes from achieving a seemingly unreachable goal. A few unresolved plot threads, notably to do with the mother, point to a sequel. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal
Sixth-grader Boom Broom's got it rough. His family is still reeling from the twister that came and left their tiny seafaring town so suddenly, sucking up Mrs. Broom. For Boom, that means dealing with a dad who refuses to leave his "safe" attic; a 10-year-old sister, Mertyle, who fakes every illness imaginable to keep from leaving the house; and a cook who thinks he's a Viking descendant. Just when it looks as if Boom's as low as he can get, a miracle happens. While sifting through the reject bucket at the docks for some dinner, he finds an incredibly hostile baby mermaid. He wants to use the creature to make the family some money, but Mertyle wants to adopt it. Unfortunately, such actions can have horrendous consequences, and soon the two children are face-to-face with some seemingly uncontrollable magic and a curse beyond their reckoning. This amusing story has lots of kid appeal. Selfors has conjured up great characters and settings, and her narrative voice never falters. Though a sequel would not be surprising, this book stands well enough on its own. It's sure to be a hit with any reader searching for something funny.
Elizabeth BirdCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In this humorous riff on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," Selfors tells the story of 12-year-old Boom Broom and his hypochondriac sister Mertyle. Viking housekeeper Halvor only serves fish, so Boom brings home a bucketful for supper. Inside the pail Mertyle finds a badly behaved creature that they decide must be a merbaby. As time goes by, Mertyle gets Ick disease, the traditional, fatal punishment meted out by mermen whose children are taken by humans. Boom's dad is no help; he's unable to leave the house because he hopes his wife will return home-a tornado took her away prior to the book's opening. Reminiscent of Dahl, Ibbotson and Snicket, Selfors incorporates lots of silliness with some elements of danger. While Boom's mum never does return, Mertyle's illness is healed after Halvor's Viking Society and her family work together to return the merbaby to her parents. It's often a bit twee, but there are some humorous moments. Best suited for reluctant readers who like silly fantasies. (Fiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher
"The magic is wonderfully, classically unpredictable...the giggles are plentiful....Readers will commiserate, chuckle and cheer as Boom navigates his own series of unfortunate events."The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This amusing story has lots of kid appeal. Selfors has conjured up great characters and settings, and her narrative voice never falters...sure to be a hit with any reader searching for something funny."School Library Journal"
Reminiscent of Dahl, Ibbotson and Snicket."Kirkus"
Outlandishly funny characters....[A] nimble fantasy."Publishers Weekly
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The magic is wonderfully, classically unpredictable...the giggles are plentiful....Readers will commiserate, chuckle and cheer as Boom navigates his own series of unfortunate events."