The Tail Of Emily Windsnap (Book 1)

by Liz Kessler

Paperback, 2003



Local notes

PB Kes



Scholastic (2003), Edition: English Language, Paperback


After finally convincing her mother that she should take swimming lessons, twelve-year-old Emily discovers a terrible and wonderful secret about herself that opens up a whole new world.


Original publication date


Physical description

7.4 inches


0439779871 / 9780439779876



User reviews

LibraryThing member ckenne17
The Tail of Emily Windsnap is a really enjoyable book to read. It's a great book for the classroom and even a great book to read at home with your family. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters. The struggles Emily went through to find herself made the story very realistic and believable. I think as kids, everyone struggles with finding out who they really are and where they come from and I think this story can relate to kids that are going through that struggle. I also really enjoyed the family and friend relationship that the book portrays. Without the help of Emily's best friend, Shona, she might not have found who she really is as a mermaid. I also really enjoyed how in the book Emily says, "Everyone has a secret, mine is just a little different. I figured out I am a mermaid." I thought this was a great quote to show children that everyone is different. There are many different "big ideas" in this story. One of the big ideas is loyalty. Shona remains Emily's loyal best friend throughout the entire book. Another big idea in this story is family. Emily spends the entire book looking for her father and trying to help her mother remember memories of her father, Jack.… (more)
LibraryThing member PrincezzRyn
This book is amazing- magical with a touch of reality and everyday problem solving. You will absoulutley fall in love with dear Emily Windsnap! Check out the sequal as well!
LibraryThing member lwright
Emily has never been in the water so, imagine her suprize when during her first swim lesson her legs become a mermaid's tail.
LibraryThing member amysnortts
This is definitely a child's book. The main character, Emily Windsnap, is going through the normal pre-teen angst and aging problems. Her chief concerns are to have a best friend and fell like she belongs at school. Those main concepts work well for the average young reader. As an adult reader, I was bummed because I usually love children's literature and I like paranormal books, so I automatically assumed that this would be a fun read. It isn't. The writing style is consistent with the reading level and unlike many other books written for children, there was not much to recommend it to an older audience. I rated it low because I feel that good children's literature should still be pleasant (not painful) for adults to read. As a fifth grade teacher, I read a lot of young adult books and I found this to be lacking in substance. That being said, I'm sure that younger readers would identify with the book. The main character feels and endures similar trials that kids go through and the fantasy of it is cool and different than the normal book. I'm sure my students would enjoy this book immensely and I will be adding it to my library as it isn't offensive in the slightest .… (more)
LibraryThing member MountainsofBooks
I would have loved The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (and series) when I was in upper elementary and middle school.

It was a fun, captivating read–it is about a 7th grade girl who finds out she’s half-mermaid. I mean, c’mon, that’s pretty cool.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s a fun story, but the ending resolution came awfully quick. After painting Neptune, the king of the merpeople, as a hard, heartless man–I mean, merman he was very quick to have a change of heart. Too quick, in my opinion.

Other than that it was fun. I’d read the other books in the series just to see what happens to the Windsnap family.
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LibraryThing member sparklegirl
this is the story of a girl who finds out that she's a mermaid!!!
LibraryThing member marck
The premise is so promising as to make me envious: A girl who lives on a houseboat but has never swum -- the result of her mother's apparent lifetime fear of water -- discovers that when she is submerged in water, she transforms into a mermaid. This leads to a number of questions about her identity and her past, which her mother seems to have a very murky grasp of. Emily sets off on a quest to find out the truth, befriending another mermaid and generally upsetting her home life in order to discover the truth. As I read this to my daughter, I thrilled at the first half. The second half, however, falls completely apart in the way that some movies devolve into incoherent action sequences. And the more I read, the more I felt like the writing was merely mundane. My daughter enjoyed it, but we have since moved on to novels that she is just as interested in and are written with much better experience. It comes down to the investment of your time, and in the end, the Emily Windsnap series appears not to be worth it for me.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ilithyia
A bit younger in reading age than I expected. This one and the sequel were a bit juvenile, lots of pre-teen angst about nobody wanting to be her "best friend". Also a pretty standard, girl finds out she's part mermaid story.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Emily Windsnap discovers that when she is immersed in water she changed into a mermaid. She makes a best friend who is a mermaid and attempts to find her father whom she suspects might be a merman.

I can totally see why 10-year-old girls go crazy for this series at my library. 1) It's about mermaids. Mermaids are pretty cool. 2) It's cool because it's British. 3) It's about mermaids. Mermaids are pretty cool. :) I enjoyed the audio recording and I think the narrator has a great voice for the story.… (more)
LibraryThing member sototallyme2
This book is about a girl who discovers she is a mermaid.
Later on she faces some difficult changes with her new friend Shona.
They will have to find Emilys dad who is locked in Neptune's prison.
LibraryThing member tipsister
This is another one of those books that I kept seeing over and over but never read. Maybe it’s because the cover is pretty and that attracted me! I’m not sure it was one hundred percent worth the wait. The book is aimed at pre-teens and I think that if I were a ten year old girl, I’d be obsessed with the book and the series. As I am not a ten year old (although I still act like it occasionally), I found the book to be entertaining but it lacked something.

The story is about Emily, a twelve year old who lives on a boat with her mother. Her mother is terrified of water and has never let Emily learn how to swim. When her school provides swimming lessons, her mother gives in. Emily is a natural in the water and for good reason. She’s part mermaid. The rest of the book follows Emily’s quest to find her father and figure out why her mother can’t remember a thing about him.

I can’t put my finger on what was missing. The character of Emily was great, she had a lot of personality. I’m not sure if it was just too simple for me or what I was looking/hoping for. Eventually I may get to the rest of the series but not right away. I am curious as to the island they were referring to. I would recommend it to girls in the appropriate age range. I can see my nieces enjoying it when they are older.
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LibraryThing member periwinklejane
I like having fun, light books to read in the summer, ones that remind me of books I read when I was a kid. Emily Windsnap fit the bill, mostly, but I find I'm a much harsher critic as an adult than I was as a kid (aren't we all?).

The story is cute -- Emily discovers, at age 12, that she is part mermaid: once she's immersed in water, her legs literally turn tail. Emily is a likable heroine, but I found the other characters to be pretty thin and the happy ending to have some pretty big holes. If I was a kid reading a hundred or so books in a summer, this one probably wouldn't stand out much, though I can see totally see a nine-year-old developing a summer girl-crush on mermaids.… (more)
LibraryThing member ashley5
this book is ok it's not the best book in the world but it's good. there is this girl that grew up thinking she should hate the water because her mom was afraid o the water so she wouldn't let emily so in. but something weird happens and she becomes somthing. emil dosen't have a father so she trys looking for him . I can't tell you if she finds him or not but It's very interesting.… (more)
LibraryThing member CILLYart4U
I found this cute, modern-day mermaid story engaging, and hope to read the other books in this series sometime soon. Though different from the fun mermaid books I have created for my young readers and families, this story and series will be an enjoyable read for children who love fairy tales, mermaids and the ocean magical.
LibraryThing member pussreboots
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler is the first of a five book middle grade fantasy series. Emily and her mum live on a boat off the coast of an English town. Though she lives over water, she's only now facing her first swim lesson. And it doesn't go anything like she expected or feared.

In fact, it turns out that Emily Windsnap (the name should be clue enough, but more on that later) is half mermaid. She and her mother's memories have been wiped, including the truth as to what happened to Emily's father. He's not the deadbeat dad everyone has told her.

This first book serves an introduction to the world of the merfolk and their relationship to human (at least English) society. It also gives a chance for Emily to reunite her family and learn the basics of her powers as a mermaid.

But in audio form it's also rather twee. In all fairness there's a long literary tradition in Britain of characters having names that match their character traits or jobs or whatnot. Heck, even British society itself did that (think of the family names Smith, Carpenter, Butcher, etc). In children's entertainment we get twee names like Windsnap or Mousling.

I bring up Angelina "Ballerina" Mousling because the audiobook was recorded by Finty Williams, the voice of Angelina Ballerina from the original animated series that ran from 2001-2007. Having her read Emily Windsnap's adventures makes is damn near impossible to not compare Emily's world and friends to Angelina's.
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LibraryThing member gildaclone
This book is about a girl who, even though she lives on a boat with her mother, has never been allowed to swim. Since their boat only has a shower, she's actually never been submerged in water, even in a bathtub. When she starts swimming lessons at school, an odd thing happens...she starts to develop a tail. The book tells the story of why Emily Windsnap is part mermaid, and why her mother never talks about her father. My stepdaughter liked it when she was younger. I like it's descriptions of sea life, the colors of the mermaids and their buildings, and I think Emily's insecurities and feelings are pretty typical for a child of her age. It's a cute book for the reading level it's written for, about 3rd grade, but it's not a children's book that transcends its genre. The cover art and small beginning of chapter sketches are very cute. There is no profanity or risque behavior in this book, and I think any little girl would like it.… (more)
LibraryThing member BugsyBoog
Except for the fact that she is a mermaid, Emily Windsnap is just like every other middle school girl on the planet: she is self-conscious, has to deal with snooty girls, and is exploring new friendships. Emily and her mother live on a houseboat, and she has no father in the picture. Emily has a shocking discovery on the first day of seventh grade during her first ever swim lesson. She has never been fully submerged in water, mainly because her mother is afraid of water (yet they live on a houseboat). In the pool, her legs begin to fuse together to form a tail. After swimming amazingly, she gets out of the pool before her new secret can be discovered. Emily is accused of being a show-off by the mean girl. The experience continues to baffle her, and she goes to the sea that night to see if it will happen again. It does, and she meets another mermaid, Shona, who proves to be just “swishy.” Shona shows her a whole different world including school, sunken ships, and the harsh laws of King Neptune.

Emily eventually finds out that her mother was once married to a merman named Jake, and that the lighthouse keeper, Mr. Beeston, is a spy working for King Neptune. Mr. Beeston has been wiping the mother’s memory every week in the guise of having tea. The mom eventually gets her memories back, and Emily tries to rescue her father in a climactic chapter. They are eventually given a trial, and King Neptune agrees that love is valuable, even if it is between a human and merman. Emily gets to see her parents reunited.

This book is another example of why fantasy fiction can be so valuable to kids. Even though fantastical things go on, these books still explore issues that matter to kids. They can identify with the problems she has, and they can also use their imagination to consider what being a mermaid might be like. I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to any seventh grade girl. It is the first in a series. Illustrated by Sarah Gibb with very pretty watercolor-type images of mermaids and other sea creatures.
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(273 ratings; 3.8)
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