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Maddy lives with her family in New Orleans. At almost 10, she is the youngest of five girls, and this summer it will be her turn to stay with her grandmother in the bayou. Apprehensive about the visit—her sisters say Grandmère is a witch, whose house has no electricity or indoor plumbing—Maddy is also excited to discover Bon Temps. Soon, Grandmère teaches Maddy about healing herbs and their family history. When Maddy finds that she can call fireflies and see mermaids, Grandmère tells her the story of Mami Wata, the water spirit who accompanied their slave ancestors from Africa. Maddy soon comes to love the wetlands and the residents of Bon Temps, human and otherwise. So when the Gulf oil spill threatens the town, it is Maddy who must use her magic to save her new home…Maddy is a brave and hopeful heroine, and the descriptions of the bayou are almost as magical as her legacy.   Recommended for grades 4-6.

*This review, written by Youth Services Librarian Laurie Walters, originally appeared in School Library Journal.

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