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The Secret of the Water Knight by [Reh, Rusalka]
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The Secret of the Water Knight Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 102 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Description

Product Description

While vacationing on an island with her parents, a young girl must overcome her greatest fear in order to rescue the local animals and sea life from the magical curse of a villainous toad. Beloved by fans for her beautifully written stories and interesting characters, Rusalka Reh has penned yet another fun and fantastical tale that is sure to enchant young readers the world over.

When Kat’s mom suggests a family vacation to the beach, her ten-year-old daughter is less than thrilled. In fact, the idea sounds downright lousy, considering the fact that Kat is terrified of the water. Yet from the moment they arrive, Kat senses there is something very unusual about the island. Her hunch turns out to be right: moments after discovering a strange whistle in the surf, she realizes she can hear the island’s animals talking to her. She doesn’t understand why…until a dolphin known as the Water Knight tells her about a curse cast upon the island by a villainous toad. Only a child can break the spell and only during a special full moon that shines once every forty years. The dolphin tells Kat that just such a night is rapidly approaching, and it’s up to her to free the island from the curse. But to do so, she must dive down into the toad’s lair, deep beneath the ocean’s dark waters. Packed with adventure and suspense, this story about a plucky girl conquering her greatest fear makes for a rousing—and heartwarming—read.

A worthy follow-up to her novel Pizzicato: the Abduction of the Magic Violin, Rusalka Reh’s newest tale, The Secret of the Water Knight, is sure to be praised for its excitement and suspense and hailed as a “compelling story of adventure…in the vein of a classic story, enjoyable by young and old alike.”

About the Author

Rusalka Reh was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1970 and grew up in Germany. She studied special education, rehabilitation, and art therapy in Cologne. She began her career as a scientific assistant at the university’s fine arts program and later worked as an art therapist in municipal children’s homes. Since 2000, she has worked as a freelance author, writing lyrics and prose. In addition to books for children and adults, she has published several texts in anthologies and magazines.

Katy Derbyshire is a London-born translator based in Berlin. She has translated various contemporary German writers including Clemens Meyer, Inka Parei, and Helene Hegemann. She also co-edited a book of writing on her new home, City-Lit Berlin.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 704 KB
  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions (May 10 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049P1U1A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #297,385 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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It has a good story line with a surprise ending. It is also teaching self-improvement by meeting challenges. The transalation of the original language I think does not do full justice to what was probably present in the original language - German but I don't believe it would bother a child to any degree.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa25e4df8) out of 5 stars 80 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa237bbd0) out of 5 stars Neat idea, but didn't translate well May 26 2011
By C. Leebrick - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
There shouldn't be anything better than a girl who must face her greatest fear or leave a whole island of talking animals and sad people doomed to misery. Kat hates to put her head in the water. Her parents decide to take her to an island getaway with a goal of getting her more settled with swimming while there. She does discover snorkeling, but that is all she can manage. Then a magic whistle allows her to talk to the island's animals. They need her to confront the Vile Toad who has a stranglehold on the island, but that will require going under water to confront the toad at the 500th full moon. What will she do. What, what, what. Maybe the advice of the friendly newspaper stand owner can guide her. Maybe her father can teach her to love the water. Oop. Gotta end the book, bye.

It's almost that abrupt. The parents are quirky, but flat. The town is mysterious, but 2-D. The animals are cautiously optimistic, but not much else. My 8 year old borrowed this from me and had lots to say. "Is there more of this part where she meets the dolphin?" "Why did Kat do that? She was just going to ... and then she did this instead." "Is there a different book of this story that doesn't skip so much?"

Definitely not a good choice for most 9+ year olds who read for fun. My 8 year old finished it, but she was out of other books at the time, so I'm not sure that is a recommendation. I have never heard her have so many unhappy reader comments about a book before. Usually she loves everything, and frankly, I think she gets that from me. Neither of us was wild for this one.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb442d828) out of 5 stars Magical Realism Aug. 5 2011
By Ana Mardoll - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The Secret of the Water Knight / 1611090067

Kat can't swim and she's afraid of the water, so her parents take her to the ocean on a summer holiday so she can learn to swim far away from the teasing jibes of her friends. Yet when Kat gets to the lovely island paradise where they will spend their vacation, she learns that a terrible curse has been plaguing the island residents, and that *she* is expected to swim on the night of the full moon and do battle for all their lives. No pressure!

I had heard that this short story suffered from translation issues, but I had no problem whipping through it in a single night -- for myself, the text flowed well and the story was gripping. There are perhaps a few sentences where the sentence structure is different from what an English reader might be used to, but the meaning was still clear to me and the unique phrasing added to the poetic feel of the novella.

The plot itself is very gripping: this story puts me in mind of a collaboration effort between Gabriel Marquez (for the magical realism) and H.P. Lovecraft (for the intense body horror) to create a kids' novel about learning to swim and embracing and overcoming your fears. Since I'm a huge fan of magical realism and body horror, I suppose it was inevitable that I would enjoy this book, but I'm not sure how many young children will love this story, just because there are several quite intensely scary moments, including: (spoilers) humans having their body parts replaced with fish parts; a sad, wounded, bleeding dolphin; and a grown man tying up and gagging a young girl and leaving her alone in the dark.

I really enjoyed the magical realism in this book -- animals speak to our young protagonist without a lot of buildup or explanation, and Kat runs into people curses with changed bodies on a regular basis without batting much of an eye. The body horror is gripping and the frightening plot juxtaposes very nicely with the child-like narration and the vivid depictions of an island paradise. I'm not sure this book is for everyone, but I can definitely attest that I enjoyed it and recommend it as well worth a look.

NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through Amazon Vine, though I did end up buying the ebook version as well.

~ Ana Mardoll
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1a58210) out of 5 stars Good -- but rather short. June 9 2011
By D. Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Kat, the ten-year-old narrator and protagonist of "The Secret of the Water Knight" has a great fear; every time she tries to learn to swim, she panics and simply cannot do it. No one -- not her physical education teacher or her parents -- seems to be able to help her overcome this fear.

Her parents decide to spend a vacation on an island. Because of Kat's fears, she isn't too happy about going, but when she and her parents get there, she learns of some strange things that have happened. She finds an unusual whistle and meets some of the island's animals; the whistle makes the animals seem to speak to her. She meets a dolphin called the Water Knight, who explains that the island has been cursed, and she is the chosen one to break the curse of the evil toad. There is a very small time frame to do this -- every five hundredth full moon, or about every forty years. Others on the island tried to break the curse when they were Kat's age and failed. Kat must succeed, or the island will be cursed for another forty years.

This book would be an enjoyable read for tweens, but it seems quite short, hence my reason for a rating of four stars. My advance reader copy was only 92 pages long, even counting the back matter (a brief glossary of some Spanish words and phrases and information about the author and the translator); the information on the back cover states that the final copy will be about 102 pages. This length might be just right for some young readers, but many might want something more substantial.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa255f0a8) out of 5 stars The worst book I have read this year July 3 2011
By Karissa Eckert - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I got an Advanced Reading Copy through the Amazon Vine program. It sounded like a fun story, but was a complete dud. I don't know if the story just didn't translate well or what, but as short as it was it was a struggle to get through. I've given one star to maybe three books in the hundreds and hundreds that I have reviewed...and this is a one star book.

Kat is afraid of swimming. Her parents take her to an island on vacation with the intent of teaching her how to swim. While there Kat finds a magic whistle and finds that she is destined to defeat a horrible curse put on the island by a villainous toad. Will Kat be able to set aside her fear of swimming long enough the save the island?

I am trying to think about positive things about this book and am having trouble. I guess it is kind of creative and had potential to be a fantastic story if you consider the general idea. The idea of a girl running into a dolphin who is a Water Knight is interesting, yet we didn't get to see much of the Water Knight in the story.

First let's talk about the awkwardness of the writing. The writing does not flow, it is fractured and simple. Kat sounds more like a simpleton than a little girl throughout the book. I don't know if the book was poorly translated or what, but it was horrible. At 100 pages long this should have been a cinch to read, but it was a struggle. It was one of those books where I just kept shaking my head and thinking "did anyone actually read this before it was printed?" Seriously I want the hour that it took to read this book back.

Kat's hilarious father is just annoying. Kat spends time dwelling on the Americaness of things on the island (bright water toys, loud tourists) but she is American and is on a Spanish speaking island; it comes off as confusing and odd. Kat makes a number of decisions that don't seem to fit with her characters and don't make a lot of sense. All of the characters are mere sketches, none of them are that interesting. There is a lot of Spanish in the book and it is translated, I guess it might help your kid learn a few Spanish phrases but mostly it was just obnoxious.

Now let's talk about the numerous inconsistencies in the story. At one point Kat talks about how mosquitoes sting people...umm okay but being from Minnesota this was a glaring error...they bite, they don't sting. Then there is the man Kat meets with webbing up to the tips of his fingers...guess what he wears gloves all the time. The author explicitly described the webbing and how it goes to the very tips of his fingers and then spends time talking about his gloves. do you get gloves on webbed hands? This is talked about multiple times in the story and it annoyed the stuffing out of me...maybe the webbing is really loose and he tucks it down between his fingers? I am not sure why this bothered me so just didn't make sense.

Lastly lets discuss the final epic (or actually pretty non-epic) battle between Kat and the evil toad. First of all Kat suddenly becomes one with the water and can swim after all the time of not being able to swim even a stroke. Next she swims into an underground cave and (not only stays down there forever) but can talk down there and walk around. So suddenly not only can Kat swim like a fish, she can breath underwater, stay under water indefinitely, and walk around. Why is this? As a reader we will never know. I read it through multiple times and couldn't figure out if it was the magic whistle, the Water Knight, or maybe just that the stars were aligned correctly. By the end of the story I had no idea what had happened...honestly though I didn't really care, I just heaved a breath of relief that I was done reading the most horrible book I have read this year so far (I've read 154 books this year so far so that is saying something).

Overall just a horrible book. Poorly written, poorly edited, awkward language, an inconsistent plot, and dull characters. The writing level might challenge a five year old but any older children will be bored. The only interesting parts, where Kat interacts with the dolphin, are very brief. Please don't let your child read this book, they may never want to read again. Especially a middle grade reader. Get them something wonderful and magical like Harry Potter , Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Warriors, or Fablehaven. I can't believe this book is targeted at that age group and I can't believe that it is in print. I almost never give one star reviews for books since for me that requires horrible editing, glaring errors, and an atrocious plot and characters...this book is the exception though, it had it all and not in a good way.
HASH(0xa1dda900) out of 5 stars Good idea, but didn't quite stick the landing Dec 6 2015
By EpicFehlReader - Published on
Format: Paperback
The premise is what made me curious, as I have a water phobia myself and don't see it worked into characterizations very often, but something mostly definitely must have been lost in the translation here. The characters are not fully developed, plot ideas are introduced but not fully explained, and the overall flow of the writing is jarring and weird. The English translation uses American slang terms but they're slightly off, like the way someone still learning English might say them. The writing just needs a lot of work, which is a shame because there's a really cute idea here that had potential to appeal to a lot of young readers, if only the story wasn't so clunky in the delivery.