BOOK of the week

To Catch a Mermaid

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Boom Broom accidentally brought home a problem. It's bright green, smells like mud and likes to bite him. When it's hungry, its screams can be heard across town.

Oh, and it's half-human and half-fish -- a merbaby, if you will -- and it carries a curse.

It wasn't as if Boom, who is 12, didn't have enough problems already. His mom was sucked away by a tornado, his distressed father lives in the attic, and his sister Mertyle pretends to be sick every day so she doesn't have to leave the house. Plus there's no money for food, and a family of bullies lives across the street.

Life only gets worse for Boom when 10-year-old Mertyle falls in love with the merbaby and then is tormented by its curse. Crazy things start happening, and Boom needs the help of a Viking chef and some friends to save his sister.

This is a silly and sweet tale of love and legends, with lots of funny twists before the story's happy ending.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company