October 19, 2018

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 6:14 pm by suebe2

Julian is a Mermaid
by Jessica Love
Candlewick Press

On Saturday mornings, Julian and Abuela go swimming.  One day on the way home, they spot a trio of women on the subway.  Julian can’t stop staring at their beautiful dresses complete with mermaid tails or their fancy hair.  Soon Julian is lost in imagining that pool time is mermaid time.

As they get home, Julian points out to this grandmother that he too is a mermaid.  She reminds him to be good and goes to take a bath.

Soon Julian is getting creative – making flowing hair from fern fronds, adding touches of his grandmother’s make up and borrowing a sheer curtain to make a tail.  That is, of course, when Abuela wrapped up in a towel comes out of the bathroom. The look on her face makes it clear that she is not thrilled.

Julian isn’t sure what to do but Abuela gets dressed and comes back out carrying a beautiful necklace.  “For you, Julian.”

Love could have ended the book right here.  And it would have been sweet and amazing.  But she didn’t.  She created something more.



Abuela adds the necklace to Julian’s ensemble and the two head on down to the beach.  Soon they have reached the destination of the original trio of mermaids – a brilliant, flamboyant, parade on the beach.  There are mermaids, people wearing fish costumes, and even two little dogs dressed like lobster.  Julian has found his people.

I had heard wonderful things about this book when I requested it from the library.  Still, I approached it with caution.  Too often I’ve been disappointed by crowd favorites.  Julian did not disappoint.

It helps that Love is not only the author but the illustrator because so much is communicated through the illustrations.  From facial expressions to the things going on in the background, all add to the story.

This is a touching piece about love and acceptance and about finding wear you fit into the teaming, swirling mass of people around you. Definitely something that should be in school libraries, class room libraries and more.



1 Comment »

  1. […] Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love is about a boy who loves mermaids (outer journey/plot).  But it is also about self-identity (inner journey/theme). […]

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