Bloodthirsty mermaid or lonely mutant?

With a title like Slug Pie Story #2: How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid you know you’re in for an interesting take in children’s fiction. If there is any doubt allowed by such a title the cover says it all, reminding me of the classic horror-fiction of my youth. The two go hand in hand; a perfect alluding to the story to follow.
The author is clear at the outset in his warning note to parents that this is a story not to be taken too seriously since it’s a darker tale for children. I didn’t think this warning note was necessary but it opened the book with humor, setting the stage.
Bogerman either really knows pre-teens or remembers his formative years with precision clarity. The book opens with a twelve year old Mick making a deal with PJ, the son of wealthy business executives, to mow his mansion’s lawns in exchange for free use of the pool to teach Mick’s younger brother Finley how to swim. The need for these swimming lessons has something to do with events that transpired in the previous volume in the series, events that are cursorily mentioned in order, I’m assuming, to make this volume stand-alone. A little more details on the Zombie Cave would have been a nice touch but the lack doesn’t take away from the plot of this book.
PJ asks Mick and Finley to feed his newest pets, Sea Monkeys. Since the brothers have never seen seamonkeys or know what half of PJs vernacular means they accidentally feed the creatures something that irrevocably changes them. Only one creature survives to become a mermaid but it’s a mermaid defying Disney’s beautification process.
The story that ensues is full of wit and twelve year old snark that made me wonder if this is how my pre-teen son thinks or interacts with his peers. I chuckled quite a bit and was pleasantly surprised by Bogerman’s original style in delivering what at first appears to be a grim fantastical tale and turns out to be interwoven with appropriate levels of feasibility, charm and wisdom.
I loved the moral lesson brought home by the end, cautioning against pre-judgment of others based on cursory knowledge. The sibling relationship between the boys was marvelously utilized as was the connection to PJ making this a book (and series, assuming the other volumes are up to par with this one) I would suggest to my son for his or his grade’s reading program and pleasure.
I gave How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid a rating of 4 out of 5 stars only because I felt like I was missing something in the shortage of background information about the characters and their previous exploits.


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