Julian and Nana love to go swimming, and on their way home they notice three beautiful mermaids. Julian LOVES mermaids we are told, and as soon as they get home, he decides to make himself up to look just like one. But what will Nana think of Julian’s new look?
This poignant and beautifully illustrated picturebook uses minimal text and lyrical sequential illustrations to tell a captivating and empowering story. The message is clear – be true to yourself, and there will always be a tribe out there for you to find. The potential for intergenerational tension is hinted at beautifully, and then resoundingly defused, pitching the story’s arc as one of curiosity, creativity, doubt, fear and then redemption through the power of love and acceptance.
Love’s illustrations are a true thing of beauty. Some of the most evocative and deceptively simple spreads in the book are those which contain no words at all, just the images of Julian as he transforms himself into a mermaid. The unusual palette of block pastels and vibrant primary colours on a brown paper background make each double-page spread feel like a modern-day illuminated manuscript, while her soft lines and expert sense of movement render each scene sympathetic and bursting with emotion. This exceptional book deserves many re-readings, and with its heart-warming story and uplifting message of inclusivity, it’s sure to be a favourite amongst children and adults for many years to come.