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Ringlet and the Day the Oceans Stopped

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An eleven-year-old mergirl has better things to do than save the oceans from deadly stagnation. Except there’s no one else. And worse still, something monstrous is hellbent on stopping her. It’s Ringlet against time and tides ... and there’s not much left of either.

276 pages, Paperback

Published July 18, 2019

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About the author

Felicity Williams

2 books5 followers
Felicity Williams kickstarted her career with a QE2 Arts Council grant. Since then she has worked extensively in the creative industries, as a composer, musician, script writer, theatre director and television producer, winning many awards and prizes for both composition and television production. Currently she is the owner of Canvas Bag Drama School in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the rest of the time she writes. "Ringlet and the Day the Oceans Stopped' is her first novel.

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5 stars
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1 (4%)
3 stars
3 (12%)
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2 (8%)
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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
33 reviews1 follower
August 16, 2019
Pacy underwater adventure of mergirl Ringlet’s fight , against time, to save the oceans.
Highly original, entertaining and delightful language providing a story of adventure with an ecological message.
1 review1 follower
August 24, 2019
What I like most about this book is the balance. Felicity Williams is so skilled at keeping us gripped by the story, and yet entertained by the interaction of the characters. We very quickly come to care about them, and we want to know more - yet at the same time, part of us is always amused: always enjoying the moments of sheer fun. It's an entertainment, in every sense of the word!

At the same time though, this is a serious book: a story of oceans, at a time when that's a very big topic. It's not just pollution and fish stocks we need to worry about. Climate change also impacts ocean currents - and that, the science is saying, can change everything... just as it does for the fantasy characters in this book.

What the author does is to mythify that new, central social theme. She makes the ocean currents the core of a mermaid's world - the transport system that keeps everything going, which of course, it actually is. This is important mythic territory - and especially for young readers. Not only does the story have these crucial environmental credentials, it goes deeper. It's a quest myth, playing over the psychological terrain of the young reader, encountering that life moment where tentative first steps into adult decision-making and responsibility still confront a world that can seem too big and inexplicable, and that can, as in this case, 'sweep you away.'

This is very much a book for the 21st century young reader: one whose future will be navigating an always-linked-together set of social currents, finding ways through them and ways to use them. It hits right on contemporary and futures-directed themes and understandings. The way the quest plays out may seem 'classic': hero encounters problems, sets out to solve them, meets other characters, some helpful, some hindering... but it is how she progresses, and how she triumphs, that count. The sense of her agency - her power to act and her sense of mobility - make this contemporary. Cultural analysts pointed out some decades ago that the 'new' recreations and sports we all enjoy (think surfing, para-gliding, skateboarding,) differ from the old ones, in that we now abandon ourselves to the forces of nature: tide, wind, even gravity itself - where once we used the human body to propel and contest (think running, jumping, kicking, throwing...) Mermaid Ringlet and the myriad of creatures she encounters in these adventures know and practise this second mode. They how to harness it and to serve it, to keep the their own 'flows' of creativity and social connection alive.

Felicity Williams though goes further. In this book, language itself plays this game of flow and connection. I loved all the language games that play out in the story, and so did the young readers I gave the book to. Each time some new language concept is introduced, it is tightly stylistically controlled, so that as reader you know it can continue, and you learn its rules very quickly - yet the game also stays fresh each time. My favourite was the idea of thought-fragments, dissolving in the deepest levels of the ocean, and yet still able to come back, reassemble themselves, and so start to make sense again. This gives the story yet another level - and that's what I think is the main strength. This 'mermaid story' offers so much, to so many reader-levels. The smartest kid is going to keep on finding something new, and challenging.

The cluey and ambitious 8-9 year old reader will identify with the 11 year old that the chief character 'Ringlet' says she is. The book has all the requisite hallmarks for this age cohort: dress-ups; horses - of a sort; obsession with hair, and fingernails, and eating. But I also liked/admired the contact the characters make with a functioning bureaucracy - which I think utterly updates the 'duty and morality' codes of classics such as 'Alice in wonderland', and gives them a wonderfully contemporary note. Children are being inducted all the time now into the sorts of 'project identity' work the book examines, as young consumers online, and in the shopping malls that rule their leisure life. Here that is extended into broader social concerns, with examination of environmental concerns, plus hints at cultural tension arising as 'incomers' enter the ocean world, on the decaying 'currents' of its flow. The intersections of these currents, they way they intensify with positive energies - like the Friendship Current with character 'Chignon' for instance - and yet also sometimes cheat you, strand you, and leave you in danger, says a lot about how the modern world works.

More than just a mermaid story! And a very good book for reading out aloud.
August 9, 2019
I absolutely feel in love with following the adventures of Ringlet in this book. I felt like I had joined her along for the ride during her ups and downs and found myself egging her own and wishing that her memories would come back after she was pushed into the sea of forgetfulness. I think we can all relate to having a Plaitita in our lives in some form or another! I loved the warm themes of friendship throughout and overcoming adversity. Iskee and lumpy custard were delightful and loveable characters that I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I imagined them. All in all this magical adventure is definitely worth the read! I look forward to sharing it with my nieces and drawing them into this fantastical story.
1 review
August 26, 2019
A mysterious tale as Ringlet races time to fulfil a prophecy.

The book is full of depth (pun intended) and details that casts a spell over you and make you keep swimming through the pages.

All the characters had interesting secrets and were very different from each other.

I think all kids should read it, I even told my Mum she had to read it.
Leo (aged 11)
1 review
September 11, 2019
I loved this book, it exercised my imagination and tickled my fancy. Sometimes I feel like I am in the sea of forgetfulness as well but as long as I have my hair properly coiffed, I know that like Ringlet, I will get through it alright. My 9 year old is reading it now and she can't put it down.
1 review
September 16, 2019
This is such a great book. I was really hooked into it while reading. I enjoyed following Ringlet and her colleges throughout their travels. In my opinion Felicity Williams is a great author.
Profile Image for Kathleen Dixon.
3,555 reviews59 followers
April 11, 2021
What a mad trip through the ocean!

Ringlet is a mermaid who has lots of bright ideas but they frequently go wrong. Her last misdemeanour has her being ostracised, so she decides to leave home for a while - hoping, of course, that somebody will dash after her and say, "Don't go, all is forgiven". Nobody does. Then she manages to get herself involved in a dangerous task, and cluelessly bumbles her way through all sorts of trouble.

I love the world that this author has imagined. These are some highlights:
* the way they propel themselves through the water
* the mythology that shapes their world and has people (mermaids, rather) undertaking their pre-ordained parts within The Story
* the deliciously wicked villain
* a fabulous seagoat - Lumpy Custard - that speaks in some kind of ancient language (translated of course for we the uneducated readers, but not losing its unusual (for us) turn of phrase - because we all know that different languages express themselves very differently. Translation isn't simply exchanging one word for another)
* hair - she's not named Ringlet just for fun, and watch out for Chignon
* the spelling starfish
* and the jellyfish.
I loved The Little Mermaid when I was a child (the original, not a Disney or any other sanitised version) and have ever since been interested in mermaid fiction. This one sits up there with the best of them - it's sassy, contemporary, unique, and has a quest as its foundation. Fabulous stuff!
September 7, 2020
Beautifully written. I love the journey of these characters. So original and such a positive message. So fun with lots of humour and the right amount of naughtiness !
1 review1 follower
September 21, 2019
We first meet the enchanting Ringlet, mermaid and member of the Great Choir of Mermelodia, when Mer Spirulina unceremoniously, and I think unfairly, expels her from the choir all because of an unfortunate occurrence that arose because of Ringlet’s kindness. If that importunate squid had not badgered Ringlet into making her take him to choir practice, then he wouldn’t have burped foully and vomited disgusting smelly green muck all over the mermaids creating a stinky mayhem. And so our mermaid heroine ventures out onto the Number Three Current in search of a baton to replace Mer Spirulina’s irreplaceable antique.

But something weird and unsettling is happening to all the currents in this entrancing undersea world ... they shudder and judder, they are losing their power, the oceans are starting to stagnate because the Great Eternal Restlessness is fading, and no one seems to know why. It falls to Ringlet, the chosen one, to save her world.

In a series of adventures and calamities the brave young Ringlet takes on the burden of journeying through undersea localities to the Uplands to find the mysterious She who sleeps and who must wake. Along the way Ringlet meets and befriends a weird and wonderful collection of sea creatures and spends an afternoon at Salon Chantal where Ms Gelatinous creates for her a hairdo so formidable and fantastic that it even has its own name ... La Pouf. That hairdo is quite a character in its own right! But that delay at the hairdressers causes Ringlet and her new friend Chignon all kinds of grief at the hands of Plaitita, Sixth of the Seven Stella Mermaids, who is a nasty piece of work. You will have to read the book to find out what happens as I’m not telling you!

Felicity Williams has created not just a world, but a fantastical universe, populated by imaginatively drawn characters with often hilarious names and turns of phrase, who live in shells and stay in shell motels, who engage in their daily work and speak in unique voices. I would so love to meet some of them, especially her sweet little merdog Iskee, the sea goat who helps Ringlet to save her world, and Chignon, a well-organised and hard-working mermaid who becomes Ringlet’s bff. It’s all great fun and highly entertaining for youngsters and adults. I enjoyed it so much I read it twice. Happy reading to you.
1 review1 follower
August 17, 2019
Felicity Williams is truly an adept storyteller, using vivid imagery and developing such multi-dimensional characters! Chignon's character development was just as compelling as that of Ringlet, and readers find themselves cheering the protagonists on through all their obstacles. Williams clearly has powerful command of language, with poetic phrases that cannot help being committed to memory including, "euphonious to cacophonous in one fell swoop!" (14) Overall, highly recommend!
1 review
August 15, 2019
I am ten years old and I thought this book was amazing. I really like the funny parts (I don't want to spoil the read by telling you the best bits). I just think it is a really, really, really, good book!
Profile Image for Francesca Pashby.
950 reviews9 followers
November 18, 2019
There was lots to enjoy about this debut novel ... some very amusing dialogue, well realised scenes, and a fiesty young mergirl heroine. I just felt that the story was a bit too sophisticated for its most likely audience - upper junior (9/10 year olds) as opposed to intermediate (11/12 year olds).
1 review
August 1, 2019
Great book.... imaginative, comic fantasy, allegorical, funny, innovative language. Look forward to the next one and where Ringlet goes next!
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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