Return of the Dark Queen (The Secret Mermaid) by Sue Mongredien

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Return of the Dark Queen (The Secret Mermaid) by Sue Mongredien

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The final book in Sue Mongredien's Secret Mermaid series draws all the strands of the adventures together into a satisfying whole. It's difficult to think of a better series for girls who like adventure and magic.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: March 2009
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0746096208

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Molly is lying in a hammock in the garden of her grandmother's house, The Boathouse at Horseshoe Bay, and reading about polar bears. The thought that they might become extinct worries her, but the seas are warming and there are fewer ice floes for the bears. Molly hopes that her magic conch-shell necklace will take her back to the depths of the sea where she becomes a secret mermaid so that she can find out what's happening.

A long time ago five of the conch-shell necklaces were stolen by the Dark Queen and Molly has already helped her friends Ella, Delphi, Coral and Pearl to retrieve their shells. This time she has to help Shivana who, by coincidence, looks after the coldest parts of the ocean.

Sue Mongredien has her finger perfectly on the pulse of what children enjoy. The inspiration for this series came when her eldest daughter didn't want to go to her swimming lesson. Sue suggested that she imagined that she was a mermaid, swimming through the pool and that persuaded her to get into the water. It started Sue thinking about what a great story it would be if there really was a girl with the magic power to turn into a mermaid – and so Molly came into being.

This sixth book in the Secret Mermaid series is perfectly pitched for the emerging reader with ninety two pages of text divided into five chapters. There's liberal use of illustrations by Maria Pearson which ensure that the pages are not too daunting – and that there are useful clues to the story if a little help is needed. The vocabulary is challenging but not too difficult for the newly confident reader. Don't worry if you haven't read the first five books in the series, you'll quickly catch up with the story!

It's a good story too with adventure, intrigue and just a little danger as Shivana is trapped behind icicles. It's not a book which is likely to appeal to boys but any girl who enjoys magic and adventure is going to enjoy this book.

We've now reviewed all six books in the series and they're the type of books which are going to encourage young girls to read and guide them through that phase when reading is about 'decoding' rather than enjoyment. There's enough fun, adventure and magic in these books to ensure that 'just another chapter' gets read. It's not just about Molly and the mermaids, either – there's information about the sea and its inhabitants but it's delivered with a very light hand. The series is definitely recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For another sea-based story we can recommend Flotsam and Jetsam and The Grooof by Tanya Landman.

Buy Return of the Dark Queen (The Secret Mermaid) by Sue Mongredien at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Return of the Dark Queen (The Secret Mermaid) by Sue Mongredien at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Return of the Dark Queen (The Secret Mermaid) by Sue Mongredien at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Return of the Dark Queen (The Secret Mermaid) by Sue Mongredien at Amazon.com.


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