Book: Thora and the Green Sea-Unicorn

Thora and the Green Sea-UnicornThora and the Green Sea-Unicorn
Gillian Johnson
2005 (HarperCollins)

Thora is a half-mermaid who travels around the world in a boat with her mermaid mother, a British guardian, Cosmo the peacock and Shirley the Sea-Unicorn. At the beginning of the book they have arrived in London because Mr. Walters, Thora’s Guardian Angle, is sick and they think he might feel better on home soil. As soon as they arrive, however, they are spotted by Pamela P. Poutine, a mermaid who has been living in London by selling rare aquatic creatures to a collector in Japan. Pamela imediately decides to capture Shirley and begins plotting mischief. Eventually, Thora’s little family (minus Shirley) ends up moving temporarily to a country estate owned by one of Mr. Walter’s friends while Pamela franticly searches for the little Sea-Unicorn in London. Thora makes friends with the daughter of the estate and the two girls plot extensively to solve the money troubles faced by the duke.

This is a fun, energetic book and for the most part I enjoyed it a lot. The characters were a lot of fun, and I was surprised how much personality some of them got with relatively little time devoted to them (like Pamela’s assistant and Halla, Thora’s mother). Thora had the extremely annoying habit of frequently using the wrong word when she meant something completely different that sounded syntacticly similar. Thankfully Louella, the other child character, does not suffer from this flaw and actually corrects Thora from time to time (unlike the adults, who seem to ignore it). I really enjoyed reading about Thora and found her appealing, even with her annoying vocabulary problems!
The plot is surprisingly complex and interesting. There are numerous threads and Johnson weaves them together wonderfully well. The plot with Shirley’s attempted kidnapping and then disappearance, the thread of Halla’s past and what Pamela might or might not know about it, Pamela’s interest in the family besides Shirley, the plot surrounding the financial troubles at Snug and the croquet court fiasco, Blandina’s motivation at relationship with Jerome, and any number of other things all weave together to make a very complicated story that is, somehow, very easy to follow. Somehow Johnson manages to juggle all these threads and not drop any so that she arrives at a wonderfully satisfying ending. I was really impressed with the ending of this book and how incredibly satisfying it was, given that she had made us sympathize with Pamela but also see that she was certainly was not a good person. It was great.

I really enjoyed this book! It was fun and fast-paced and entertaining. The illustrations were absolutely central and served to help a lot with telling the story and make it fun. The characters were interesting and appealing. I definitely want to read more about Thora and her adventures on the Loki and I look forward to more fun stories about her from Gillian Johnson!

Post a Comment