The Sea Fairies
(A Trot and Cap'n Bill Adventure, Book 1)
L. Frank Baum
Public Domain Books
Fiction, YA Fantasy
DESCRIPTION: Bold young Mayre, affectionately known as Trot, has always loved the sea. No wonder her best friend is Cap'n Bill, a peg-legged old sea dog who used to sail with her skipper father. With pockets full of wonders and a head full of stories, he regales her on their many walks beside the seashore. One fine day, Bill tells Trot about mermaids, sea-dwelling fairies so beautiful yet so dangerous that no sailor who ever met one lived to tell the tale. His story awes the girl, but inadvertently offends eavesdropping mermaids. They offer to show Trot and Bill their wonder-filled world beneath the waves, to set the record straight. It's an offer neither of them can refuse. Trot and Bill dive into an adventure far grander than any salty sailor yarn - but will they live to tell the tale?
REVIEW: A frivolous little fancy by the author of the Oz series, it follows the basic, non-threatening formula of many elder-day children's tales. A young hero (and often a friend or two) encounter a friendly guide who takes them to a magical world, shows them pretty things, introduces them to benignly odd characters, then returns them home with minimal fuss or bother. Any threat, usually minimal, is dealt with not by the young visitor but by the guide or another magical ally (save, perhaps, once or twice toward the end, when the hero/heroine might make a minor, even accidental, contribution to their own survival.) Such tension-free adventures remind me of those bland, unappetizing yet healthy "treats" that well-meaning parents sneak into their children's lunches: no-calorie, sugar-free, fun-shaped objects that appeal more to overprotective parents than the kids stuck eating them.