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To Catch a Mermaid

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  320 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Boom Broom doesn't think his life could get any worse. Ever since his mother was swept away by a twister, his family has gone crazy. They refuse to leave the house and Boom and his sister Mertyle are looked after by Halvor, the Viking descendant who rents the room over their garage.

When Boom finds a baby mermaid who seems to grant unlimited wishes, he thinks his luck has t
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Published February 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2007)
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Dec 30, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you will think a sibling is really annoying but when comes to annoying, Boom Broom have brought home a baby mermaid and his sister wanted to keep it. Boom was not sure but kept it for a while then Boom's siter started to get some fizz all over her. Boom sets out to find the mermaid's parents to cure his sister. During the time he felt that everyone is on his back. His father locked himself in the attic since Boom's mother was taken away by a tornado. It was up to Boom to save his siste ...more
Mar 27, 2009 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I have read of this author. I loved them both. WHile the outer shell of the book is bright and quirky, the themes are relevant and lovely. I loved the mermaid baby with her growling and poop! Very Inventive and sweet. I want to read more!
Mar 04, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
A delightfully disturbing and whimsical story of a boy, his sister and what happens when they find a merbaby and try to keep it. Though not belly-laugh funny, it's thoroughly fun and enjoyable.
Jun 29, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: I wish I could remember... reviews?
Meh. Enjoyable enough, I suppose. Will have to get some kid responses. I suspect my rock-star readers in 2nd and 3rd grades will like it.
The Library Lady
Jun 26, 2009 The Library Lady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I personally would give this a three. But my brilliant, charming, utterly gifted 10 year old (you can gag now) told me I should rate it a 5. And I value her opinion on a book over my own and over that of any other adult reviewing kids books, no matter how much their opinion is held in reverence by other adults.

So I've compromised. And we both agree, it's not as good as Fortune's Magic Farm.
Joanna Gold
It's how this boy and his sister rescue a baby mermaid. And their mom was swept up buy a tornado in the begining so his dad and sister wont leave the house so their really poor and the hire a derct viking desndent from erik the red to cook for them. He only cooks fish so when the boy goes out to gets some he has to go to the reject fish and then he finds the baby mermaid. I can't tell you the rest because you have to read it.
This book was kind of cute but was kind of sad too. It seems everything is going wrong and then it ends up with a happy ending much like her Fortune's Farm book. She is a good writer though so it is hard to put down until you get to that happy ending.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ms. Foley
You usually think of mermaids as beautiful creatures of the sea--well this one is a mean little baby mermaid with razor sharp teeth who spits at you! There's a strange family with a Viking cook/manny (male nanny) who only cooks fish and toast with marmalade. They find a merbaby in the reject fish bucket and that's just the beginning of their problems!
Apr 03, 2011 Syd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it was one of thee best and I love how they found the baby mermaid and how they treated it like a baby. I also loved how the girl and them had to find a cure for the girl cause of her fuzz. Because, the mermaid being stolen caused the girl to get so fuzzy that eventually she couldn't speak.
Nov 01, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'M not actually reading this, but my second-grader is. She has to read aloud to me for homework and this is her book this week, so I am hearing quite a bit of it. We're both loving it! It's extremely funny and clever. Recommended for fans of Edward Eager, Roald Dahl, and other books where ordinary children become embroiled in odd magic doings. My daughter said this is "almost as good as the Penderwicks," and coming from her, this is the highest possible praise.
Boom Broom's mother was sucked up by a freak twister. Since then he's practically been on his own. His father stays in the attic, afraid the twister will come back and take them away. His sister, Mertyle, can't seem to make it past the front porch, and fakes sick every day. That leaves Boom with the cook that his father hired, a Viking named Halvor. After a particularly bad day Boom stumbles upon something extraordinary, something that will change his life forever.

This was an interesting story.
Angela Liao
Jun 09, 2012 Angela Liao rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 9th-grade
To Catch A Mermaid is an excellent book that shows how people don’t use one another

to get benefits of their own. Boom knows that catching a mermaid will lead to many riches, so he

thought of using it to get rich. Generous, Mertyle on the other hand wants to keep it and not let

it get harm by others. ‘Give her up?’ Mertyle’s shoulders dropped, and if Boom could have seen

her expression through all that fuzz, he guessed he would have seen one of the extreme sadness.”

is a quote from the book To Ca
Leah Beecher
Read this one this winter.
The girls really liked it.
It kept their interest. The writing was good. It had quirky " Roald Dahl-like" characters. Its was about a young boy who lost his Mom when she was sucked up in a freak tornado. Both his dad and sister refuse to leave the house afterward, paralyzed by fear. Boom, the main character is then forced to take care of the house. He is helped by their cook, Havlor, who thinks he is a Viking and talks incessantly about how he is "a direct descendent of
Jun 19, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silly, fun, feel-good book that addresses challenges that can be real (bullies, loss of parent, etc.) Loved the resolution. Read it together as a family. Our first grader got so excited to know the end that she spent three hours reading it by herself.
Sep 06, 2012 Joslins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mermaids aren't all beautiful temptresses as was found out by the main character in this book. Some funny parts as he deals with the complications of having a mermaid around and as he deals with his family.
Mar 13, 2013 Paige rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2
I loved this book because of it's adventure of two poor children all alone. After their mom's disappearance in a tornado, their dad locks himself in the attic in case another tornado approaches. When Boom Broom finds a mysterious fish they take it home and find out it is a mermaid. When the mermaid causes Mrtyles sickness they have to take t back. I loved this book.

Jul 03, 2013 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To Catch A Mermaid by Suzanne Selfors was a very science fiction book and very interesting book. This book was about when a boy named Boom Broom his mother got carried off by the tornado his father Mr. Broom has locked himself in the attic. Boom has a chef named Halvor who always tells about Viking stories.

One day Boom went to get fish but instead he got a fish with a tail a human face that looked green and had green hair and it was a mermaid baby. The brooms chef Halvor also tells about that m
I think that "To Catch a Mermaid" is an amazing book. I enjoyed it, because it was sometimes humerous, and othertimes not-that-happy, but all in all, I think that this book was great.
Jan 13, 2014 Sydney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
boone finds a baby mermaid and merchel takes care of it. there's a curse that if you take care of the baby mermaid then you'll get fuzz all of you and will die. if you return the baby mermaid you will live. boone and his dad drive to this island to where the baby mermaid's mom is and merchel gets released from the curse.
Dave Bell
May 25, 2014 Dave Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another winner from the author of the Imaginary Veterinarian series of children's books. The setup is on the dark side, for sure, and there are sad undercurrents throughout, but it's also funny (like the other Selfors titles we've read), and culminates in some nice lessons without being preachy. And it held our almost-8-year-old's interest for all 250 pages.
The story was kind of cute, but there wasn't much to do with the merbaby. I thought it read more like how Boom was disappointed in his life and how everything was so unfair. It would've been nice if there had been an epilogue about what happened to his family after Myrtle was all better.
Serena B.
Nov 29, 2014 Serena B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last book that I read was To Catch a Mermaid by Suzanne Selfors. This book is full of adventure and twists and turns. I would rate this book 5 stars because I was so desperate to read this book and I could not stop reading. This book is a fantasy about how a boy named Boom Broom and his sister Mertyle. They find a merbaby and Boom wants to sell the baby and get everything that anyone could imagine. Mertyle wants to take care of the baby because it was the first thing that made her happy . Th ...more
Heavens... It takes some patience when mermaids are giving you trouble, doesn't it? Just grin and bear it.
Aug 02, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
I read this book to my 8 year old son and almost 6 year old daughter and they both really enjoyed the story. At first we just read it at bedtime a chapter at a time, but towards the end, we had to read it during the day because we couldn't wait to find out what happens to the characters in the end.

A fun read with great characters and an interesting plot. It deals with loss and a boy having to grow up too quickly when his father cannot deal with the loss of their mother. But somehow, it's not a
Aug 03, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My daughter lived so much that she asked me to read it. What a great little read with good lessons and very entertaining!
Vicki Jaeger
Nov 06, 2015 Vicki Jaeger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cute chapter book about siblings who find a baby mermaid. They live on a real but somewhat surreal island, where people are quirky and the world has hints of the magical. I really loved how they dealt with some real issues (loss & grieving, fitting in at school) with a good dose of whimsy thrown in.
Laura Parnum
Dec 27, 2015 Laura Parnum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another delightful book by Suzanne Selfors. I read Fortune's Magic Farm recently as well. You need to read To Catch a Mermaid to find out how an unconventional mermaid affects the life of a family whose mother was swept away in a tornado.
This book is about a boy named Boom Broom and his sister named Mertyle Broom. who are watched over by a viking named Halvor. Boom doesn't want to leave his house, because he worries that he might be swept away by a twister, since his mom was taken away by a twister.
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Suzanne Selfors lives on an island near Seattle where it rains all the time, which is why she tends to write about cloudy, moss-covered, green places.
She's married, has two kids, and writes full time.
Her favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Dickens, and most especially, Roald Dahl.

Please visit her at to learn more about her books.

More about Suzanne Selfors...

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