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Zelda said, “Proof that you should always be free to wear whatever you want, even if what you want to wear is glittering shrimp.” —Bad Mermaids Make Waves

Bad Mermaids Make Waves

Bad Mermaids #1

by Sibéal Pounder
AR Test, Good for Reluctant Readers

At A Glance
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Reading Level
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Beattie, Mimi, and Zelda planned to spend the summer on land with temporary legs, but their trip is cut short when they receive a message ordering them to return home. The queen of the Hidden Lagoon, Arabella Cod, has been fishnapped. It’s up to the three friends to figure out what has happened to Arabella. When they return to the Hidden Lagoon, they discover that some seriously bad mermaids have taken over. With the help of a talking seahorse, the three go on a dangerous journey to discover who has fishnapped Arabella. Will the three be able to avoid the bad mermaids and chasing piranhas? Can they discover who the true villain is?

Readers looking for a fast-paced and silly mermaid mystery will be drawn to Bad Mermaids Make Waves because of the beautiful cover and the fun black-and-white illustrations throughout the story. The illustrations bring the magical mermaid world to life and help readers visualize the many crazily outfitted characters.

As Beattie, Mimi, and Zelda swim through the mermaid kingdom looking for clues, they interview those who may have had a hand in Arabella Cod’s disappearance. The mystery solving is more silly than serious and the three spend much of their time being chased. Bad Mermaids Make Waves will satisfy readers who like riddles, puns, and seriously silly fun.

The three main characters and a talking sea-horse, Steve, interact in hilarious ways. Another added bonus is the news-like articles from Clamzine and The Scribbled Squid that are dispersed throughout the story. The Scribbled Squid writes, “gossip and lies and things you should definitely buy,” while Clamzine gives snapshots of important characters in a fun way.

Bad Mermaids Makes Waves weaves mermaids, fashion, and mystery into a silly story that will engage reluctant middle school readers.

Sexual Content

  • None


  • Arabella Cod is fishnapped by a human.
  • Piranhas chase the three mermaids. Mimi uses fin-fu, which is “a little like human kung fu, only with fins” to battle the piranhas. Mimi “was doing a weird single-finder chopping move and pinging them away.” The piranhas finally swim away.
  • The mermaids chase someone who stole a car. Beattie jumps on a shark and chases the car. “The shark lunged and snapped down. The clam car shot forward . . . the shark lunged and crunched! She opened her eyes just in time to see the robber mermaid shoot out of the car and down the alleyway.”
  • The mermaids sneak into someone’s house to investigate. When they are caught, Beattie gets stuck in the door that was shaped like fish lips. In order to get Beattie unstuck, “Mimi casually turned and fin-fun chopped the fish lips. The entire sandcastle crumbled into a pile in one dusty explosion of sand.” The mermaids then escape.
  • Someone fishnaps Goda Gar. “There on the bow was Goda Gar, being tied up with seaweed streams and carted off by the chomping piranhas.”
  • The three mermaids are captured. When a seahorse tries to help them, a shark “bit down hard on Steve. . . Beattie cried as the wriggling little sea horse went limp and floated down toward the mermaids in a trance below.” The seahorse’s “shell top is ruined,” but he’s okay.

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None


  • None


  • Someone used a “powerful magic, old magic, dark magic” to control the mermaids. Somehow the mermaids’ nails are stamped with piranhas, which allows the piranhas to track them.
  • Someone found the Ruster Shells, which are “two magic shells with crocodiles carved on them.” When mermaids see the shells, they fall into a trance and do everything they are told. Whoever wears the shells can control others.

Spiritual Content

  • None



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Zelda said, “Proof that you should always be free to wear whatever you want, even if what you want to wear is glittering shrimp.” —Bad Mermaids Make Waves

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