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Daughter of the Sea Paperback – 5 Jun 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Andersen (5 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842707795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842707791
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 684,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Berlie Doherty was born in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, the youngest of three children. She always wanted to be a writer, but when she was little there were many things she wanted to be - a singer, ballet dancer, air hostess, librarian... Her serious writing started at university, where she trained to be a teacher. Now she lives in an isolated cottage in the country and writes in a barn overlooking the Pennines. She says of her writing: "After I finish a book I'm quite sad because I feel grieved that I have lost someone close; a great deal of myself is in my books."

Product Description


"Evokes overwhelming joy and sadness" (Daily Telegraph)

"Tension, emotional honesty and more than a touch of cold northern poetry as well" (Philip Pullman Guardian)

Book Description

A Carnegie-nominated timeless story from the award-winning author Berlie Doherty, republished by popular demand with new illustrations.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback
I recently read Siobhan Dowd's Ransom of Dond, a tale told in the style and form of a traditional tale. This is similar - based itself on the stories of the selkie, seals who change form into humans. I'm afraid I found myself struggling with this.

I listened to the audio version, read by Sian Phillips. At only two hours, it felt much longer.

Berlie Doherty certainly doesn't write down to children. But the appeal of a tale like this is going to be very limited. I read it in advance of my Junior Book Group all reading a Doherty book. While I might say that the language is beautiful, the writing evocative, it's also a little bit (and I hate to say it) dull. I've read and loved Street Child and know Doherty's range but I'll be hard-pushed to manage to 'sell' this to my group.

It concerns a childless couple who long for a baby and whose wish appears to be granted by the appearance of a little girl from the sea. But she is destined to be discovered a selkie, a seal in human form. It's a tale that works well as a short folk tale. But for me didn't work as a longer one. Very sorry Berlie, as I'm looking forward to trying some of your others!
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By Book chatter on 15 April 2012
Format: Paperback
Based on legends from iceland and the North, this is a story of a childless couple who one day find a baby girl abandoned in the sea, bring her up as their own, but have to face the consequences as she grows up and her people want her back. Interwoven with selkie tales as the girl discovers who she really is, the book can't have a happy ending. An OK read, easy and quick, but not outstanding.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A great Selkie tale 15 Feb 2002
By GT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A great fable based upon many of the Selkie legends from different lands. A childless couple raise as their own a baby girl the husband found one night floating in the sea during a storm. Munroe suspects right away that this child is one of the Selkies (seal-people) but keeps the secret from his wife Jannet. But when a mysterious stranger returns years later asking for the return of his child, the desperate woman tries to hide the child - and brings upon her village the anger of the sea and the seal people. Finally their daughter must chose for herself whether to return to the sea, or stay with the people she has grown to love as her parents. A great addition to lovers of tales of the Selkie.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
On the bottom of the beautiful briny sea 1 Jan 2005
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The origin of the legend of the selkie is an oddity to me. What was it about the seals of the British Isles that struck islanders as mysterious and mildly frightening? I can understand why they were sometimes mistaken for humans and mermaids. In the water a seal is as lithe and graceful as it is bulky and sluggish on land. Still, there have been a fair amount of selkie tales that place the mysterious creatures firmly into the realm of the creepy. From Mollie Hunter's dark, "A Stranger Came Ashore" to Eve Ibbotson's light-hearted but sometimes dour, "Island of the Aunts", these wondrous creatures have inspired a great number of children's authors to weave together tales of the selkies of the deep. With "Daughter of the Sea", author Berlie Doherty strives to do the same.

Jannet and Munroe were not meant to find the sleeping babe floating between the rocks of the skerries. But find the child they did, and in their childless state the dearest wish of their hearts has come true. They've been given a daughter of their own to raise and love. Watching enviously from her beachside home, indigent Eilean o da Freya watches the gift that should have been hers as the child grows and learns. Eilean understands exactly what little Gioga (as her parents have named her) is and she will use this knowledge carefully in the future. Meanwhile, mysterious creatures from the deep are preparing to take the girl back with them. If Jannet and Munroe resist, they may find themselves in a deeper muddle than they ever could have imagined.

Doherty has penned a rather classic tale. "Daughter of the Sea" follows in the tradition of all those classic fairy tales about children that don't quite belong. The old standby of the barren couple who want to raise a kid of their own is in everything from ancient Norse myths to classic Brothers Grimm tales. In this particular case, "Daughter of the Sea" is mightily similar to Eloise McGraw's, "The Moorchild". In both books you have young daughters that are a little different from everyone else and feel drawn to mysterious beings they want to understand. In the case of this book, Gioga is a little different from your average heroine. She's so drawn to the sea that she can barely pay attention to the people who love her. You're not certain how or who to root for in this tale, but it's fairly clear that the moral of the story is that you shouldn't prevent your children from being who they are rather than who you want them to be.

Unfortunately, "Daughter of the Sea" isn't particularly original. It's definitely written well enough, don't get me wrong. And it also makes for a relatively quick read for kids. But the story doesn't break any new ground. The magic found here could just as easily be found in any classic selkie folktale. Even the conclusion is matter-of-fact and predictable. "Daughter of the Sea" is a nice kind of Intro-to-adapted-folktales. Yet if you're looking for something gripping, original, and a lot of fun then this would not be my first recommendation. Select any of the other books I've mentioned if you like. Read "Daughter of the Sea" only if you're interested in the cannon of complete selkie children's fiction.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Full of imagery 1 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first time I read this book, it was in the National Library. It seemed to be calling to me from the shelves. And, it certainly was magical, all that I could have asked for and more. It's so haunting and full of beauty, it draws you into the story, yet somehow the characters seem so far away and untouchable, like they're in their own world. When the story, finally ended, I was like, oh! Gone! Just like that. It slips away even before you can reach out and grab it, and then you're left wondering what happened.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
ENCHANTING 18 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Berlie Doherty weaves a spellbinding and mystical mixture of old folk tales into this enchanting story.She Makes us empathise and feel for each of the characters.We understand and feel their pains.I have thoroughly enjoyed this book ,it is one that can be read over and over again. My class of year 6 children have been enthralled by the story and hung upon every word. Berlie Doherty has become our favourite author.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Strange!!! 15 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I did enjoy this book, but I have to say that it's quite strange! It's quite hard to explain what it's like, really. It was certainly out of the ordinary; a magical story is a way to describe it, but nothing like the usual witches and dragons. All I can really say is that this book was very good, but different from anything I've ever read!
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