Monday, July 27, 2009

Mother Daughter Book Club Meeting #13

Summary: For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery - about her own identity, the mysterious father she’s never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water’s surface. With a sure sense of suspense and richly imaginative details, first-time author Liz Kessler lures us into a glorious undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident - an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love. -- Candlewick

Last night, our Mother Daughter book club met to discuss THE TAIL OF EMILY WINDSNAP by Liz Kessler. I have to admit that I wasn't really part of the girls' "meeting," but I have it from two sources that their discussion went very well. Apparently, all of the girls loved the book and were very excited to talk about it with each other. You can read an excerpt here.

I think the girls all agree that they want to read some more "tails" about Emily; and I can't say I blame them since I thought the book was positively adorable. I have to admit that I wanted to pick up Book 2 right away, especially after the way THE TAIL OF EMILY WINDSNAP left off. Ms. Kessler definitely leaves open the possibility for lots of fantastic (or should I say "fintastic"?) adventures for Emily and her family.

All of the girls really liked Emily and her friend Shona. One of the girls pointed out to me that she is definitely more like Shona because she's very adventurous. I thought that was so precious. I've found that the girls often try to figure out which character in a book they are most like. I guess we all do that in some form or another -- I know I enjoy reading book when I can relate to the characters.

When my daughter and I discussed the book after the meeting, I was curious to see her reaction to it. I knew she enjoyed the story, but I wanted to see if she grasped some of the deeper themes. And I wanted to see if she could make sense of those themes and apply them to her life. We began talking about the theme of friendship and what makes a good friend. We talked about how Emily and her friend Shona were both considered to be "different" and didn't really have any good friends; and we also talked about how fortunate they were to find each other. I pointed out that they were both excellent friends because they weren't selfish and competing against the other one. Their friendship was so special because they tried to put the other one first. I think she understood all of that, but I'm not entirely sure she could have articulated it to me before our little talk.

In August, we will be reading EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS by Deborah Wiles. I wasn't familiar with this author or this book, but after reading the summary, I think it looks terrific. This will be the last book that we read before heading back to school, so I'm glad that it looks like one the girls will enjoy. Next month, Booking Daughter and I get to pick the book! Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Summary: Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger has attended 247 funerals. But that's not surprising, considering that her family runs the town funeral home. And even though Great-uncle Edisto keeled over with a heart attack and Great-great-aunt Florentine dropped dead--just like that--six months later, Comfort knows how to deal with loss, or so she thinks. She's more concerned with avoiding her crazy cousin Peach and trying to figure out why her best friend, Declaration, suddenly won't talk to her. Life is full of surprises. And the biggest one of all is learning what it takes to handle them.

Deborah Wiles has created a unique, funny, and utterly real cast of characters in this heartfelt, and quintessentially Southern coming-of-age novel. Comfort will charm young readers with her wit, her warmth, and her struggles as she learns about life, loss, and ultimately, triumph. -- Harcourt


bermudaonion said...

I love characters who don't quite fit in because they're true to themselves, so both Emily and Shona sound wonderful to me.

Beth F said...

Sounds like a great book with some good lessons. It's sad, but girls really do need to learn the lessons of what makes a good friend, especially as the get to middle school and beyond.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

The mother/daughter book club thing is so wonderful. And heck, I often need to consult others (through their reviews) before I understand what I just finished reading!

devonaz said...

I am so glad you liked the book,,I work at a book store and this is on the table infront of customer service so I see it all day long and then one day I was at a thrift store and there it was so I grab it,,I love anything mermaids and it sounded like a cute story..I havent read it yet but I am planning on reading it this summer thanks for your review...I enjoyed it...Devon

carolsnotebook said...

I wish I could find a local mother-daughter book club. It's a wonderful idea. I already have Kessler's book on the list of books I think my daughter would enjoy, but now I'm temped to add Each Little Bird that Sings.