Dec 19, 2008

Seal Child

by Sylvia Peck

This haunting little book is a modern story based on the myth of selkies, seals who change themselves into people. Its main character is Molly, a young girl spending a vacation on a Maine island with her family. One day Molly hears a baby seal crying, and following the sound finds a horrible scene: a skinned dead seal on the beach. Shortly after, she discovers a strange girl named Meara living with her elderly neighbor. As the girls become acquainted, Meara's secret gradually unfolds: she is really a seal, and the dead body on the beach was her mother. Before long Meara and Molly are inseperable, until their friendship is finally tested and Meara must choose to stay on land or return to the sea. Seal Child is a lovely book, well-written and intriguing. It has a few quiet surprises. The secondary characters (the elderly neighbor, Molly's little brother, her parents) are not well-developed, but as the narrative is focused on Molly's concerns and Meara's oddities, this doesn't weaken the story much.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 200 pages, 1989

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  1. Was this a Middle Grade book or Young Adult? Some ideas seem so adult, like the seal mothers death, but some parts seem childlike, like the idea of a seal turning into a girl.

  2. The writing style is aimed at younger readers, maybe 9-12 years. Although some of the themes are rather serious, especially the opening scene with the dead seal mother, they're presented gently. I don't think this book would appeal as much to teens.


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