Alali the Flying Mermaid
by Betty Hall

"Ocean creatures of all sizes, shapes, and accents, gave her their blessings, wishing her speed in her quest."

While playing with her friend Pearl, a young mermaid by the name of Alali is startled when her grandmother lets out a frightened shriek. Rushing to the safety of her elder, Alali’s grandmother Elise informs Alali that her parents have been captured and kidnapped by the evil barracuda, Sobedel. When the electric fish sage Modu visits Alali in a dream, she knows that she must seek out the wise fish’s advice to rescue her parents and sets out on a two-week journey through the ocean. Meeting friends along the way, she finally arrives at Modu’s castle to learn that her parents are still alive but in dire condition. Modu also shares a detail of Alali’s past: she was born with superpowers that were stolen from her by the cunning octopus, Ka.

With a story that is both whimsical and full of tension, young children will be drawn into Alali’s colorful, mystical undersea world. The underlying message of discovering your talents and using them to benefit the people you care about is something that will both empower children and subtly steer them into good behaviors and selfless thinking. Virtually every other page of this story is illustrated with a gorgeous, full-page depiction of the events occurring on the opposite page, making this an ideal book for reading along in class or story time. Alali and her friends both old and new comprise a cast of interesting, eye-catching characters both in text and illustration, and children will cheer as they lead their rescue mission against the sinister Sobedel.

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