LAMPIE: A 9-year-old’s Review

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By guest author R.L., age 9

Lampie, written by Annet Schaap and translated by Laura Watkinson, starts off with you meeting the Waterman family: Emilia, her daughter Lampie (her real name is also Emilia, but she needed a nickname), and the father, who is named Augustus. They live and work in a lighthouse (Emilia the mother doesn’t anymore) and Augustus, who has only has one leg. (Spoiler: We find out at the end of the book that Buck, his pirate captain, cut it off in a duel because Augustus stole his wife. He then retired from piratry and became a lighthouse worker.)

So Lampie has to light the lamp. One day, she forgets the matches during a horrible storm and bim bam boom, you got yourself a broken ship. (Nobody dies, of course. It’s a children’s book.) The Watermans have to pay for it. Augustus has to stay in the tower and has to light and snuff out the lamp every day. He is on house arrest (there are boards on the door) but that’s enough about Augustus, let’s talk about Lampie.

Lampie is hired in the Black house (it’s the admiral’s). The ship that she broke is also the admiral’s. She’s a good worker, but curiosity killed the cat. You’ve heard of the nursery rhyme about “The monster in the Black house,” right? Well, here’s the thing. There is a thing in the house that is not human, but not a monster. It’s a merman. Well, he’s more of a half-merboy, but still a mercreature. He’s the admiral’s son and his name is Edward, but his nickname is Fish. He doesn’t realize he’s a merman.

Lampie has one Wednesday afternoon per month off. She decides to go to a fair, where she finds Fish’s aunt in a “freaks of nature” booth. She then finds a photo of his mother. Soon after that, the admiral comes. Fish is not allowed out of his tower, and Lampie, Martha and her son are fired. Lampie goes to be a pirate with her father, and Edward goes into the sea.

I recommend this for readers and 9 and up. If you liked Flush by Carl Hiaasen, then you’ll love this. The characters are so compelling. Edward is very arrogant, and I liked seeing his ego broken down after he found out he was a merman.

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