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Keeper was born in the ocean, and she believes she is part mermaid. So as a ten-year-old she goes out looking for her mother—an unpredictable and uncommonly gorgeous woman who swam away when Keeper was three—and heads right for the ocean, right for the sandbar where mermaids are known to gather. But her boat is too small for the surf—and much too small for the storm that is brewing on the horizon.
Kathi Appelt follows her award-winning and New York Times bestselling novel The Underneath with this stunning, mysterious, and breathtaking tale of a girl who outgrows fairy tales just a little too late—and learns in the end that there is nothing more magical and mythical than love itself.
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SLJ July 1, 2010 STAR
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Reading Group Guide
A Discussion Guide
References to mermaids and mermen are woven throughout the story of Keeper and her family. Ask students to form small groups to investigate the legends and folklore surrounding mermaids and mermen. Ask each group to research one of the following: Sedna, Ningyo, sirens, Meerfrau, Yemaya, Lorelei, and Rusalka. Have students prepare a presentation for the class that would include their findings and a picture of their subject.
1. What is a blue moon? How often does a blue moon occur? What important events supposedly occur on the night of a blue moon?
2. Why does the author allow the reader to see the human characters from Sinbad and BD’s points-of-view? How do the animals portray the humans? What do the readers learn about the animals that they wouldn’t know if they were not able to read the account from the animals’ points-of-view?
3. On page 92, Keeper refers to “double insurance.” What does she mean by that phrase? How does Keeper gain “double insurance”?
4. What does the reader learn about Signe through Keeper’s descriptions and interactions with her? How would you describe Keeper and Signe’s relationship?
5. Keeper’s biggest fear is that everyone she loves will leave her just as her mother did. (p. 105) What proof does Keeper have see more