Mermaid Tales

mermaid tales 4 cover

The Lost Princess (Mermaid Tales Book 5)

By Debbie Dadey, Illustrated by Tatevik Avakyan


Published by: Aladdin; 1 edition (May 7, 2013)

Available in: hardcover, paperback, Kindle, NOOK

At the time of this review there were 10 books in the Mermaid Tales series.



The Lost Princess (Mermaid Tales Book 5) dives into the undersea world with nautical language, girl characters and a little bit of science in each book.

Like many chapter books series, this one keeps the easy reading prominent and the originality subdued. But most girls probably won’t care. There are merpeople who use fun language like “totally wavy” and talk about the “family shell.” There are also cool sections about vampire squids, a newfound celebrity complete with sparkling tiara, and a couple of boy merkids thrown in to keep it real.

The illustrations are sweet and effective, and exactly what a young reader will expect. Setting expectations for reading material is a good thing; if we always had a surprise, what would the norm be?

The back section of every book has fun additional information, such as a glossary, examples of sculptures talked about in the plot and song lyrics. It’s a well-developed, full package, and if a young female reader takes to it like a fish to water… well, she’s got a lot of books to keep her treading water for days. It’s easy to jump in.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….

Bailey School Kids

dracula cover


By Debbie Dadey and Marcia T. Jones, Illustrated by John Steven Gurney


Published by: Scholastic Paperbacks (June 1, 2004)

Available in: paperback

At the time of this review there were 51 books in The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series.


Kids love consistency.

Especially when they are just becoming independent readers, kids love a series. They love to spend time with the same characters, go to the same place and know that something interesting will happen. They might not know what will happen, but the fact that the framework stays the same is comforting and friendly.

The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids is a hugely successful series that gives kids that framework. The same four friends, two girls and two boys, guide readers through each book. They bicker and play jokes, say stupid stuff and act silly. They also run into someone who might or might not be from the mythical world. There is a mystery incident or question that the four friends try to figure out. It’s an easy, fast read shared with known friends in a safe (aside from that mythical character) environment. It’s a good place for kids to feel comfortable in their new-found literacy.

Dracula Doesn’t Play Kickball is just one of the many, many books in this series. Others include characters such as a wolfman, mermaid, swamp monster, gremlin, pirate and more. In addition, there is a prequel series, holiday specials, joke books and more. For kids who get hooked, they will probably grow out of the series before they run out of books to read.

Is the writing stellar or fresh? Are the illustrations exciting? Is there anything truly exceptional going on? Not really. But perhaps, at this stage in reading, this enough. Certainly many series don’t pan out, and the fact that the Bailey School Kids are alive and well makes them reliable friends. And anyone—young readers included—can never have too many friends.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….