Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Am a New Huge Fan

of this woman

and this woman.

We have been reading "To Catch a Mermaid" by Suzanne Selfors, a local, Washington State resident and I've got to admit, I'd enjoy this book even if I wasn't a mom. My eight year old son is enjoying it so much he'd rather listen to me read a few chapters than play with his electronic toys!

The book covers the adventures of Boom Broom and his sister Mertyle who have suffered heartache after losing their mother to a freak twister. Mr. Broom, the children's father who used to paint and sell landscapes of the island on which the Broom's reside, has since retreated to the attic where he has failed to produce anything, and things are starting to look grim for the Broom family. The two kids are now being cared for by Halvor, a large bald man of Nordic heritage who claims to be a direct descendant of Eric the Red, and who seems to only know how to cook fish, coffee, and rye toast with marmalade.
After being sent on an errand to get some fresh fish for the family's meal one afternoon, Boom returns with a free offering from the reject bucket of one of the fishing boats. I won't tell you any more, but the title should give you a clue...

Illustrations by Catia Chien appear at the beginning of each chapter and so perfectly capture the humor of the author as well as the demeanor of the characters. Her web page provides a broader look at her work which ranges from the ethereal to drawings that remind me of Quentin Blake's.

I picked this book up off the shelf at our local library without even realizing that the author was local. We always read the jacket before starting the book, so I did know going into the story, but I swear it has not colored my opinion one bit. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with kids who are reading - or ready for - chapter books, though 6 to 9 year olds would probably prefer having it read to them.

To Catch A Mermaid
by Suzanne Selfors
with illustrations by Catia Chien
2007, Little, Brown and Co.
246 pages, 32 chapters with 32 black and white illustrations heading each chapter

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