Pearl’s fear of sharks is not unfounded—but can she find a way to feel safe in this Mermaid Tales adventure?
Late-breaking news from the Trident City Tide: There have been shark sightings in Trident City! No swimming alone! Pearl’s father even hires a Shark Guard to escort her to school. Pearl starts stirring up lots of trouble with anything that has to do with sharks, even denouncing the skeleton Kiki has in her room. And then, to make matters worse, Pearl accuses Kiki of stealing her precious pearl necklace! And though the undersea waters are indeed filled with danger, Pearl just might discover that true friends can provide a sense of safety!
OH MY NEPTUNE!” PEARL Swamp shrieked as she swam into the huge front hallway of Trident Academy. “Did you see the newspaper this morning?”
Wanda Slug, Pearl’s good friend, shook her head. “No, I didn’t,” she said. “I had to finish my homework before school.” The two mergirls floated out of the way of some fourth-grade merboys who zoomed past them.
Trident Academy was a prestigious school in Trident City. Third-grade through tenth-grade merkids came from all over the ocean to study in the enormous clamshell. The front hall alone was big enough for a humpback whale to take a nap in.
Pearl’s blond hair and long strand of pearls swirled in the water as merstudents rushed around her to get to their classrooms. “My dad made me read the front page,” she told Wanda. “You’ll never believe it! There have been shark sightings in Trident City!”
“What?” Wanda gasped. “Are you kidding? That’s terrible.” Sharks were the number one danger to the merpeople community.
Pearl’s green eyes widened. “I’m serious. I couldn’t even swim here by myself. My father hired a Shark Patrol Guard to escort me to and from school.”
Wanda shuddered. “I’m glad I live in the Trident Academy dorm. I wouldn’t want to be swimming home with a shark on my tail.” Both girls looked at their own mertails and wiggled them gently. Neither girl noticed that the front hall was almost empty of merstudents.
Pearl slapped her gold tail on the shell floor and folded her arms across her chest. “This is ridiculous. What’s wrong with this place? Can’t they keep scary sharks from chasing people? Something should be done.”
“Yeah, but what can we do?” Wanda said. “We’re just third graders.”
Pearl twisted her necklace in her fingers. “I hate being scared and I hate having a Shark Guard. My dad might not even let me go to Tail Flippers practice if things get worse!”
“No!” Wanda gasped. Tail Flippers was the school’s dance and gymnastics team.
Pearl sighed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m going to do something. I refuse to let sharks ruin my life.”
“Uh-oh,” Wanda said, finally noticing the empty hall. “We’d better get to class or Mrs. Karp will ruin our lives!”
Debbie Dadey is an award-winning children’s book author who has written more than 150 books. She is best known for her series The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, written with Marcia Thornton Jones. Debbie lives with her husband, three children, and three dogs in Sevierville, Tennessee.