The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell
King Neptune’s 50 daughters are all special and talented in their own ways. All except for Minnow who tries to be like her sisters, but only manages to ask lots and lots of questions about things. Minnow did not fit in with her sisters at all, often drifting alone on her own. Then one day, she found a remarkable object in the water, a red shoe. She tried asking her sisters what it was for, but none of them knew, so Minnow headed out to answer her own questions and find out what the red object was for. Minnow swam closer and closer to shore, discovering answers to some of her other questions like why crabs don’t have fins. Then she found out exactly what shoes were for and headed home to tell the others. In the end, Minnow not only discovers the answers she is looking for, but she discovers exactly what her special talent is too.
Campbell, author of the uproarious Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters, returns with a quieter book that shows the same sort of depth as the first. This book beautifully wrestles with deep questions about one’s purpose in life and how to remain true to oneself rather than give in to external pressure. Disney’s The Little Mermaid comes to mind throughout the story, but in the end this is a unique mermaid story that holds up well against the Disney version.
The illustrations are rather haunting. They pair the darkness of the deep water with a near glowing brightness of the mermaids. The mermaids have drifting white-blonde hair that moves with the currents, fish tails that look like real fish, and small seashells to cover their chests.
Beautiful, quiet and deep like the ocean, this book will find readers in Little Mermaid fans who may just have found a new favorite mermaid to adore. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.