A pet peeve of mine is picking up book two in a series and not realizing it is book two. I did that with the Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure series by Amy Chu. I stopped reading it and figured someday I would find book one or just see what I could see in it. What happened was that book one, Sea Sirens, found me. Browsing through some books on our return cart, I noticed it. Just sitting there. Quietly. Waiting.
And Sea Sirens was worth the wait. It is a sweet story. It can be a bit slow for the adult/advanced reader, but for the 8 to 10 crowd should be fun. Chu mixes magic, sirens, family and friendship into a graphic novel that is based on several folktales and folklores. Vietnam plays a part. Frank L. Baum and an almost forgotten story inspired it. Even true stories about cats who surf gave of themselves. There is a lot going on and yet there is not too much to distract. There is one main story (Trot finds her way into an undersea world, her grandfather’s dementia and an adventure to rescue him) but details that support more to come.
There are fun facts that one does not always see in books (Trot likes to surf and Cap’n Bill complains, but he seems to enjoy surfing with her). As the cover art shows, there are snake/serpent creatures if that’s not your thing. But nothing is “uber” scary, just “tense.” Janet K. Lee created lovely images that move the story along. There are hints of the culture and influences. There are bold images, colors and details. Everything comes to life on the page.
Book two is due in June, but I think I will have to find my reader copy again and find out how things turn out for our heroes.