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The Sea Fairies
L. Frank Baum
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The Sea Fairies (Trot & Cap'n Bill #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  790 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Trot and her uncle, Cap'n Bill, encounter unusual experiences with mermaids, sea-serpents, and other strange creatures while journeying in the depths of the sea.
Published (first published 1911)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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 Lisa A. ✿
A sea captain, a little girl, magical mermaids, an evil wizard and an odd assortment of sea creatures all combined in an under-the-sea story. My thoughts turned to a fantastical, amazing ocean adventure created through L. Frank Baum's imaginative writing abilities. YES? Sorry, no.

Unfortunately, this is my least favorite book that I have read by Baum so far. The story seemed to be driven by the need to include a wide variety of sea creatures and most were given unlikable human qualities. The mer
Jan 02, 2016 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, younger

Okay, not really, because attacking strangers to indirectly spite an enemy is a pretty feeble motivation, but at least Zog brought some plot action to the scene. If I had to read any more twee description of pretty rooms and dresses and fish I might have gone in for some meaningless violence myself.
Apr 11, 2015 Nilsson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I made up a melody for the barnacle song, and I always sing it when I'm walking in the woods now. I don't see why the mermaid said it was stupid.
Onaiza Khan
A beautiful adventure indeeed
Jan 19, 2012 Danns rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must be honest, after reading the Oz series, this book did not live up to the tradition. I would think that this would be right up my alley, taking place in the ocean depths; but alas, not so much. That is not to say it was not a good story, just not great.

Both Avery and myself were not at all impressed with Trot. She came off as a sassy, spoiled brat who was too often combatitive and rude. Given that she is merely a little girl, her manners could have been more forth coming and yet never was
Jan 02, 2012 Corrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My mother recently got a Kindle. This was the first book she downloaded. She was really excited to reread it because she remembered really enjoying it as a child. Since she was so excited about it, I decided that I should read it.

Can't say I was that excited about it. I didn't like either of the main characters - particularly Trot.

After I read it, I asked my mother what it was that she liked so much about it. She said that she mostly enjoyed the illustrations when she was little. Since the kind
Marts  (Thinker)
Trot and her friend Cap'n Bill go on an exciting adventure below the sea with Queen Aquareine and all the mermaids... They are introduced to all the sea creatures, learn quite alot about the ocean dispelling alot of the myths that they've always heard, and get into a bit of danger too...
After working at Books of Wonder for two and a half years, it was interesting for me to finally read some Baum. I can understand why so many people are charmed by these books (especially this one, I mean, mermaids, man), but I can also understand why so many people have gone on to write continuations of Baum's stories. That part isn't exactly a compliment. His writing style feels rather amateur at times, and I can see people thinking "hey, I could do this!" (to be fair, though, "Christmas in Oz" ...more
Feb 12, 2017 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although far from being Baum's best fantasy, The Sea Fairies has an easy charm - magnified, I'm sure, if you're a small child growing up on the California coastline. The first half of the novel is pure underwater tour, sending the reader to look up antiquated and euphemistic terms for various sea creatures; the plot doesn't really kick in until chapter 11, when the protagonists are captured by a soft-spoken, genteel adversary who might as well be Satan by another name. In a slightly disquieting ...more
Lynn K.
There isn't a plot until about halfway through the book, but I enjoy Baum's writing so much that it didn't bother me. This is a highly enjoyable undersea adventure that is fantastical and funny.
Dec 30, 2015 A B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely off topic - it's pretty obvious from the "Oz" stories and this book that our beloved Mr. Baum did not like poorly played music. Given that he was a popular children's author, I think it's fair to say he made public appearances for children. And surely at at least some of those, he had to endure listening to an orchestra of third graders squawk out Twinkle Little Star or something on badly tuned violas. That mental image made me laugh.

Back on topic - sort of - he does seem to be amused
Sarah Porter
I usually like old, crazy, moralistic children's literature. I have a high tolerance for the preachy, self-righteous tone that pervades many children's classics (e.g. The Princess and the Goblin, The Water Babies.) But this, with its slapdash plot and barely-there characters and limited imaginative scope, just isn't much good. The best I can say for it is that its villain Zog presages Mr. Motley of Perdido Street Station, which is something, though Zog and his final end are both disappointingly ...more
Apr 11, 2013 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
MG Fantasy
A lesser known work by L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wizard of Oz". Published in 1911.

Sassy young Mayre "Trot" and old uncle Cap'n Bill who has one "meat" leg and one "hickory" leg, are invited to visit the undersea world by the beautiful mermaids (if only they will live to tell the tale, as no man who's been lured into the waters by mermaids has ever returned to ship or land).

And so begins their undersea adventures: They are given mermaid tails and the ability to breath under water. T
Bish Denham
Not my favorite Baum book. Trot and Cap't Bill don't do much of anything except observe what's happening. To my mind they didn't really need to be a part of the story at all. It could have been marvelously told from the single POV of Queen Aquareine and been a rousing good adventure. As it was, I found Trot to be rude at times or unfeeling. However, there were some lovely things said by Sacho, the Wizard Nog's personal slave, that made the story worth while.

"Anything that keeps you from singing
N. Ray
Mar 20, 2015 N. Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The descriptions of the mermaids and their dwellings and sea life was much different than I had expected. All good... Just different.
The story revolves around a young girl and an old seaman that are graced with the presence of the mermaids during one of their boat rides. The mermaids have decided to turn the humans into mermaids in order to abolish a rumor that mermaids are evil. The mermaids are hospitable and introduce them to the ways and creatures of the sea. But as they make their way from
Mark Wilkerson
L. Frank Baum (almost) always proves to be an interesting read. I always feel like a curious little child again who is passed a book when I have questions about certain legends. This book is set up to answer those innocuous questions that those little kids may have. Here, mermaids is the topic, and Baum tackles creating a believable, fun little fantasy world out of this idea. Much like his story "The Life of Santa Claus," the world that Baum creates is surprisingly well thought-out. He takes his ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Joshua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read a fair few reviews, I think people commonly mis-interpret the whole slave aspect. Slave and servant once were synonymous. There was no distinction between the paid vs unpaid or willing vs forced aspect of the work. Same mistake commonly made with the bible. After all sacho, the gold smith, and cap'n joe hardly fit the bill of whipped and chained slave. They were saved from drowning by zog, given a roof over here heads, well fed, albeit terrified of zog, sacho in who's quirky way hardly want ...more
Jun 13, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I rather enjoyed this quirky little sea tale. I found it enchanting, but also I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like why are these mermaids so nice to these humans and what's the real plan, to kill them or harm them? I must read too many books with terrible twists and turns in them. But this book turned out not to have ulterior motives and the mermaids simply wanted to be friends. It's a lovely little bedtime story or something to read to your kids. Certainly interesting characters throu ...more
Against my better judgement, I picked this up from the library so Julian could read it independently. Of course "independently" didn't happen, so together we read the adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill as they slipped beneath the sea with the mermaids. There we had lots of description of pretty things and an eventual villain.

Julian--who lives and breathes Oz, I remind you--admitted at the end that he didn't like it that much, and found it kind of dull. That said, we've moved on to the next one (
Not a bad idea for a story but it was quite quirky. I found it quite boring untill the cast finally met zog who was really the strangest villan ive ever read of.
This book could not be a classic because alot of the facts are outdated and it gives a rather disturbed and primative notion of the sea and its inhabitants and I wouldnt like to read it to a chlid for fear they would remember some of the ideas as truth.
Its nothing compared to the authors other books like the wizard of oz, but i reccomend
Feb 10, 2012 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started this a second time with Mike on 11/23/2012. So far he's enjoying it as much as the Oz books. Finished on 12/16/2012. Mike was just as happy with this as the Oz books.
Well, I enjoyed this one, too. Maybe not as much as the Oz books, but I wanted to read this (and the next Trot & Cap'n Bill story) before continuing with the Oz books because they make an appearance in that one. This was enjoyable, but typical. The characters weren't quite as interesting as the Oz characters, but this
Mar 27, 2009 Dayna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at the Oregon Coast Aquarium because I loved the Wizard of Oz books when I was a little kid. It's a cute story- lots of safe adventure for kids. The interesting thing is Trot's (a little girl character) attitude toward anyone that acts 'stuck up' in the story. She's quite militant about it. I wonder if this was Baum's own opinion or if he was just trying to teach kids not to be arrogant.
Bizarre but engaging story of the adventures of "Cap'n Bill" and "Trot" under the sea with the mermaids. Trot is an anti-heroine before her time as rude remarks and judginess are her usual response to meeting ocean creatures. The dialogue is cringeworthy but occasionally funny and the ocean creatures are inventive.
David Macpherson
This was a book I got to read to my son at bedtime. I will like it more for that reason. He liked it. I thought some of the travelogue aspect of the book, where the girl and CapN Bill, turned into mermaids traveled about, was tedious. It got fun and weird at the second half with a bad guy who holds them captive. It was all fun and strange.
Ok, but not great. Filled with Baum's wonderful descriptions, but without the whimsy of Oz. The mermaids are underwater fairy-princess types, not very interesting. Fine for kids who like princess/fairy/mermaid stories. Probably most notable for Oz readers who are familiar with Trot and Cap'n Bill from The Scarecrow of Oz. This is the book that introduces those characters.
Helen Fosco
May 10, 2012 Helen Fosco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well Frank Baum had a great imagination. I did get a bit bored but then I'm an adult. I loved his Oz books but this is not one of them although the charachters of Trot and Captain Bill eventually go to OZ in a later book. The thing I loved about the OZ series is the great Art Nouveau illustrations. When you read books on the older Kindle you don't see those illustrations.
A failing of Baum's less accomplished work is that he substitutes travelogue for plot, and the first part of this book falls into that trap. Things pick up with the appearance of Zog, but then Baum (again, as he does) resolves the plot with a deus-ex-machina.

I liked the sassy Trot, though, and the undersea world Baum describes is sometimes portrayed as beautifully as Oz
Jim Sibigtroth
Everyone knows The Wizard of OZ by Frank Baum but he also wrote several other OZ books, short stories, and several books about mermaids (The Sea Fairies is one of the mermaid books). I read the first few chapters of this book aloud to second graders and point them to for this and other free books that they can read online or on various devices like iPad and Kindle.
Jun 19, 2007 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classroomshelf
what can I say---L. Frank Baum's whimsical writing, a San Diego setting, mermaids, and John R. Neill's gorgeous if I could just get my little hands on a first edition someday!!!!
A very cute book. Listened to it as a family. One thing that stuck out was how kind everyone was and how everyone went out of their way to make another happy. One character was constantly talking about the importance of choosing to be happy.
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also wrote under the name Edith Van Dyne, Floyd Akers

Lyman Frank Baum was an American author, actor, and independent filmmaker best known as the creator, along with illustrator W. W. Denslow, of one of the most popular books in American children's literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, better known today as simply The Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a pleth
More about L. Frank Baum...

Other Books in the Series

Trot & Cap'n Bill (3 books)
  • Sky Island
  • The Scarecrow of Oz (Oz, #9)

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