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The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for A Land Baby: Book Review Online

Updated on January 3, 2014

By Xuan Chau, a fine pianist

The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby is a children's novel by the Reverend Charles Kingsley. Written in 1862–1863 as a serial for Macmillan's Magazine.

There are many things that may come across us in life. Mysteries, challenges, and even miracles make up our earth and who we are today. Like Tom who was turned onto a water baby. You’re probably wondering what a water baby is? They’re children that fall into water and are transformed into sea creatures that look like humans but are able to swim and breathe in water like fish. Normally in a fish tale like this, one saves another, in this particular story, Tom saves himself too.

The Water-Babies - Fairy Tale for a Land Baby
The Water-Babies - Fairy Tale for a Land Baby

The Story

It starts out as a quite boring adventure with no one except Tom - chimney sweep earning money for his master and Grimes - who spends his time spanking his servant. When Tom runs into a school, the dirty boy is chased into the woods. Unfortunately, he isn’t looking ahead and plummets into a pool. When he awakes, thinking he is dead, a Caddis fly - a fly that sheds its skin tells him his true form. He is a water baby! Unsure of where he is, He roams around and meets Ellie, another water baby, with the three leaders- Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby, Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid, and mother Carey. Tom thinks they’re strange names, but they did mean something. They tell Tom about what happened before he fell in the water and how they turned him into a water baby.

Tom embarks on a series of adventures and lessons, and enjoys the community of other water babies, once he proves himself a moral creature. In his last adventure, Tom travels to the end of the world to help a man who is being punished for his misdeeds. By showing he is willing to do things that he doesn’t like but is the right thing to do, he earns himself the rights to turn back into a human, becoming a “great man of science”.

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What Does the Story Teach

The theme of this story is that you should do what should be done even if it interferes with your happiness, because when you’re being helpful you can get others’ respect. Sometimes, accepting help is harder than offering it but doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do. Tom goes from a mischievous boy to a caring young fellow in this entertaining tale. He also made friends that use to be his enemies. This story teaches many other themes in it too.

This old story was published in 1863 by Charles Kingsley. I enjoyed this book because it was very amusing and funny. It tells many rumors and fun science about the world of the supernatural. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy and likes adventure stories. I even believe the author’s purpose for writing his book was to teach a lesson to young dwellers that are always getting into trouble. I also think this book is very creative and so is a great story for anyone.


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