Fourteen-year-old Riko manages to get her sister Sif and herself to their Pacific island home, where a scientist who falls in love with Sif discovers her connection with an underwater race.
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In another beautifully written story by the author of Playing Beattie Bow (1982), an adult Erika (``Riko'') narrates events in 2000 A.D. when she was 14, imaginatively linking environmental concerns with a plausible explanation of mermaids as humans with special adaptations (e.g., webbed fingers), but with lungs and sophisticated technology to maintain their undersea cities; the ``tail'' is a sort of wet suit. Daughters of a mermaid (Marika) and a Scandinavian seaman, Riko and Sif, 17, are unhappily living with a bossy older sister in Australia; until their father's death, they had lived on an island near Tahiti, where they were friends with dolphins and could visit their mother. Riko plans to become a marine biologist, but Sif pines for the sea; deeply concerned, Riko contrives to take her back to their beloved paradise. They find it threatened by man's depredations: whales and porpoises are tragically born dead; the sea people plan to migrate to a cold, desolate, but safer place, and Marika wants Sif to join them. Sif is torn: she realizes how precious she is to Riko and has also fallen in love with Henry, a young scientist they have both learned to trust. Like many of the poignantly evoked sea creatures, Sif doesn't survive, losing her life in a dramatic undersea climax. In a final chapter/epilogue, people are finally stirred by the earth's impending death (and by Henry and Riko's well-informed pleas) to give up their greed and begin to reclaim their environment. A compelling novel with unique, memorable characters and a thoughtful message. (Fiction. 11+) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-8-- As she did in Playing Beatie Bow (Atheneum, 1982), Park creates a believable world within a world--this time an undersea one of merpeople in telepathic contact with sea creatures; and an underearth one of menehune, a race of dwarfs who live in burrows and fear fire. Set in the near future, this ecological fantasy begins when the narrator, Riko, was 14, and her older sister, Sif, was unable to cope with city life in the home of their married sister in Australia. Riko engineers their return to their remote islet home and, with adolescent fear of change, tries to scotch the growing attraction between Sif and a persistent marine scientist who has come for rare shells. There are some wonderful and funny scenes as he gradually grasps their half-sea connection, and even visits the undersea city where Riko's brother and mother live. But greater change threatens as pollution wrought by humans encroaches, deforming sea life and threatening the Earth itself. Well plotted, the last chapter is a bit anticlimactic but satisfying as summary. There are enchanting scenes of beauty and danger; perceptive, expressive writing; and vividly drawn characters. --Ruth M. McConnell, San Antonio Public Library
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Puffin, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110140384758
Book Description Puffin, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140384758
Book Description Puffin, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140384758