Friday, August 3, 2012
Mythical Creatures: Mermaids by Charlotte Guillian
Author: Charlotte Guillian
Guillain details the lore surrounding mermaids in this offering from the Mythical Creatures series. She establishes parameters; describes famous mermaids in literature, art, and film; and compares the tales that developed in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. She also notes other fantastical water creatures and reviews the data for and against mermaids as verifiable beings, concluding that they don’t exist but make for great stories. Succinct text, large type, short chapters, and frequent “Did You Know?” boxes make this text easily accessible for emerging readers. The sidebars provide discreet factoids (“Mermaids are female”) that are sure to pique children’s interests. Illustrations (ranging from original drawings to fine-art reproductions to maps and photos) appear on nearly every page; Slade’s artwork is somewhat pedestrian, but reproductions are well chosen, and maps and photos are clear and informative.
I have to say, I really enjoyed reading this book even though it was intended for children. At first, I thought it was going to be another book filled with facts that I had read in previous books or facts that I already knew from doing so much research. However, what a nice surprise it was to actually learn about more mermaids from around the world! One of my favorite parts about reading mermaid books is learning the mythology and origins of each legend. Also, some of the names of the legends are often confusing since they are in another language, but Guillian breaks them down so that they are easy to pronounce. Another element that I really enjoyed about this book was the full colored maps and illustrations. Some of them were really beautiful and informative. The only thing that readers might not like about the book is that it is written in large print, since it is aimed at a younger audience. One last thing I did not enjoy about this book was at the end the author writes that mermaids are not real! How can you say such a thing? There are plenty of mermaid performers and sightings all over the world! In fact, I myself, am a selkie ;) I give this book (****) 4 stars.
-Sirenita The Selkie