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|Secrets of Selkie Bay|
Author: Thomas, Shelley Moore
Selkie Bay is a place where the old legends seem very near, and eleven-year-old Cordelia believes that her secretive mother is a selkie who has returned to the sea--a belief that offers some hope as she struggles to care for her two younger sisters and helps her scientist father make ends meet in their home by the sea.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 176330
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/15)
School Library Journal (06/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/15)
The Hornbook (00/07/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2015 Cordie and Ione’s mum has dark hair, dark eyes, slightly webbed fingers, and keeps a luxurious, silvery black coat in their closet. Everything points to her being a selkie, especially after she disappears from their quaint Irish home one afternoon. That she has returned to the sea is a much easier reason to swallow than the alternative scenario: she doesn’t love her family enough to stay. Cordie, almost 12, doesn’t believe such nonsense, but 8-year-old Ione is completely convinced. Spotting a dark-colored, friendly seal in the bay only solidifies Ione’s ideas, and soon she, Cordie, and their baby sister push off in their little boat behind their new seal friend, in search of the magical island where selkies live. In Cordie’s matter-of-fact, artfully emotional first-person narrative, Thomas explores grief and loss, as well as the comforting power of stories and belief in magic that can chase away sadness. She cleverly toys with readers’ expectations regarding whether or not Cordie’s mum is indeed a shape-shifting seal, and the fanciful folktales interspersed throughout the novel add plenty of charm. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2015 Gr 3–6—Eleven-year-old Cordelia Sullivan has put the pieces together. Her mother owned a soft, silky black coat, read her stories about selkies, loved the ocean, and showed Cordelia and her sisters the way to an enchanted island. Her mother and the black coat are missing, so the obvious conclusion Cordelia draws is that her mother donned her sealskin and rejoined the selkie kingdom. The trouble is, Cordelia doesn't exactly believe in selkies. What follows is one bad decision after another as the girl tries to help her family and bring her mother home. On an ill-fated trip to the island, Cordelia and her sisters are rescued by a large, black seal. Is the seal really their mother trapped in her sealskin or is Cordelia simply guilty of finally believing her own tales? The surprise ending leaves the door open for a little belief in magic. VERDICT A general purchase; give this to readers who like contemporary fiction mixed with a hint of the supernatural.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 The sudden disappearance of the Sullivan sisters’ mother has left the three girls bereft. Grief won’t make them money, though, so Cordie, the oldest at eleven, takes a job with cranky Mr. Doyle to help ease the financial strain on her beloved father. Ione, meanwhile, has become obsessed with the selkies that are rumored to swim in the waters around Selkie Bay, an Irish tourist trap that exploits the legend to bring in much-needed revenue. Ione insists that the gray seal she has seen off shore is the girls’ mother, and she manages to wrangle her sisters onto a boat; the three set off and find a mysterious island filled with what appear to be selkies. Mr. Doyle has found the island too, though, and he’s intent on getting vengeance on the creatures he believes to have wronged him in the past. Thomas gives the usual charming seaside locale a bit of grit here, depicting people whose financial stability depends on the fickle sea or even more fickle tourists. The girls themselves have a similarly rough edge about them, particularly Cordie, who is resentful of her mother’s absence and about the fact that role of head caretaker has fallen to her. The book carefully walks the balance between realism and fantasy, never quite dismissing the legend of the selkie but still remaining grounded in the very unmagical elements of the girls’ daily lives. While the truth behind her mother’s disappearance is implausible, fans of realism will ponder whether Cordie’s mom and dad made the right choice, while fantasy buffs will want to take a trip to the folklore section after reading. KQG - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.