Dahl’s voice for Mabel is young and amusingly opinionated. O’Hara’s watercolor illustrations have a retro feel, with lighthearted views of the seaside hotel, Mabel and Madame—and some mermaids…The appeal of Mabel’s fanciful take on the older woman’s past grows along with their friendship, transforming the poignancy and losses of old age into something sweetly adventuresome and glamorous. A warmhearted tale of intergenerational connection.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Mabel is surprised when Madame Badobedah invites her in for tea, and a friendship begins between the two. Their imagined adventures and histories give way to confessions of truths and secrets, all of which play out in the glorious watercolor illustrations, shimmering with beachy hues, whimsy, and enchanting details. Youngsters ready for longer stories should pack their bags for the Mermaid Hotel without delay.
—Booklist (starred review)
Dahl’s yarn unspools with impressive assurance as two strong female characters grapple with each other, and both emerge victorious.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The Mermaid Hotel feels like somewhere you can go, at a time when you are allowed to go nowhere, shook from Mabel’s imagination and Dahl’s deep rememberings… Everything is sunnier and brighter and splashed with possibility. Mabel knows how to get there.