The Mermaid Who Couldn't ISBN: 9781785923951
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018
Mariana, a mermaid who was abandoned 'on the ocean floor by a careless mother', is terrified of all the strange beings she sees above her. She eats nothing but old bones and bits of shell, and when she tries to swim to the top, she's too frightened to continue. This all makes her feel useless until she meets a friendly turtle called Muriel. A motherly sort, Muriel takes Mariana under her wing and brings her to the surface to meet other mermaids, who want to be friends and sing beautiful songs to her. But unfortunately Mariana, when she tries to sing back, makes a horrible noise instead. Feeling more useless than ever, she finds Muriel again, who takes her home, feeds her, combs her hair, hugs her tight and teaches her to swim. It takes Mariana a long time to feel safe with Muriel and her friendly family, but finally, with Muriel's encouragement and a promise to always stay close, she makes friends with the other mermaids and is able to sing her own strong and beautiful song: 'I grew up in the darkest depths and fear was all I knew, but love can kindle courage if you just allow it to...' This is a lovely book with unusual but highly evocative illustrations. The fear and lack of self-esteem and the loneliness are very real in both text and pictures, and equally obvious is Muriel's love and attention that gives Mariana the help she needs so much. This is a journey from darkness into light and one which will appeal mightily, particularly to little girls who have suffered from neglect and abuse. Available from Amazon, from bookshops and form the publisher: www.jkp.com.