Review Blog

Aug 18 2020

Mermaid School: The clamshell show by Lucy Courtenay

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Illus. by Sheena Dempsey. Andersen Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781783448388.
(Ages: 6-9) Recommended. The clamshell show is the second book in a series of three so far by Lucy Courtenay and is perfect for those younger children who have a higher reading ability. The series started with the book Mermaid School which introduces the main character, Marnie Blue, a girl trying to fit into a new school and make friends. This second book in the series focusses on a large-scale school musical production in which Marnie and her friend Orla vie for the lead role of Queen Marietta. However, there is a new girl called Gilly who gets the part. Gilly tries to make friends with Marnie to meet her famous Aunt Christabel Blue and her friends are suspicious of her motivation. She and her brother seem more focused on themselves and their rise to stardom than really putting any effort into the performance for her school. Her actions put the performance in jeopardy along with the appearance of a human at the concert venue, leaving Marnie and her friends to pick up the pieces and save the day. Underlying this storyline is more about Marnie's famous aunt who is also a singer and her mystery love interest that has sparked Marnie's curiosity.
The books in this series incorporate aspects of school life that will be familiar to children but in the unique underwater setting of the Mermaid world. Aspects of life as a mermaid are well incorporated including lovely details of the food being eaten and the beautiful flowing clothing and unique pets in Mermaid Lagoon. The illustrations that are scattered throughout the book provide some lovely details of the characters and life in Mermaid Lagoon. The map at the beginning of each book also adds interest for young readers to make Mermaid Lagoon come to life for them in these stories. Themes: Mermaids, Marine animals, Friendship.
Gabrielle Anderson

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