Annet Schaap

Lampie and the Children of the Sea

This rich and layered fairy-tale adventure story has everything it takes to become a classic.

Emilia lives in a lighthouse with her father. He has a wooden leg, drinks too much and makes his daughter do all the work. In the harbour town, everyone calls her Lampie, or ‘little lamp’. During a terrible storm, Lampie realises she’s forgotten to buy matches and so the lighthouse lamp remains unlit and a ship smashes into the rocks.

As punishment, her father is locked up in the lighthouse and Lampie is made to work as a cleaner for seven years in the admiral’s spooky house, where everyone says a monster lives. She makes friends with the housekeeper and her mentally disabled son, but remains curious about the one room where she’s not allowed to go.

Skilfully, Schaap tells a sad and exciting story through the eyes of Lampie and the other characters, including the monster itself. Dead people, such as Lampie’s mother, and even the wind are all given their own voices. A colourful fairy-tale world comes to life, in which the presence of bizarre fairground artistes and bloodthirsty pirates seems like the most natural thing in the world. In these harsh conditions, which are at times reminiscent of classics such as The Water Babies, The Secret Garden and Sans famille, the appealing and ingenious Lampie discovers that she can stand on her own two feet.

What makes Lampie and the Children of the Sea particularly interesting is the way the novel incorporates the world-famous, tragic tale of the Little Mermaid. Everyone knows how she exchanged her beautiful voice for legs so that she could go and live with the man of her dreams. This story begins where the fairy tale ends.

What if the Little Mermaid had had a child, half-human, half-merman? Little by little, Lampie unravels the puzzle of the monster and of her own troubled past. Lampie and the Children of the Sea has everything it takes to become a classic.

Lampie and the Children of the Sea is a fan-tas-tic book that I hope will be read aloud to all eight- to twelve-year-olds at least, at school or at home.


Some writers of children’s books understand the art of creating characters that instantly capture your heart. Annet Schaap has succeeded in doing exactly this in Lampie and the Children of the Sea.

De Standaard

I was swept away in a sea foam storm by the spectacular Lampie and the Children of the Sea […] What a treasure trove of a book.

Hilary McKay, author of The Skylarks’ War


Annet Schaap

Annet Schaap (b. 1965) studied at two art schools and was for a long time best known as the illustrator of books by successful authors such as Francine Oomen, Janneke Schotveld and Jacques Vriens. She has since gained international acclaim as the author of the enchanting adventure Lampje (Lampie…

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Lampje (2017). Children's books, 328 pages.

Age: 10+


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