Parents' Guide to

The Mermaid

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Delightful retelling of Goldilocks as undersea mermaid tale.

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Mermaid lovers aren't the only ones who can rejoice in this underwater take on the classic Goldilocks tale, since there's an ocean of pleasure here for all readers. In The Mermaid, author-illustrator Jan Brett gives us a Goldilocks figure who has golden scales instead of golden tresses. Brett says she was inspired by a trip to Okinawa, and this mermaid is Japanese inflected. Her name is Kiniro, her flowy hair is jet black, and her features have an Asian cast. Brett also drew on her interest in octopuses, substituting three of them for the stock three bears, which gives these intelligent sea creatures a nice showcase, one that's unusual in kids' books. The art is busily detailed with sea life and includes Brett's signature borders, with windows giving us glimpses of action happening elsewhere.

It's great fun to reimagine a classic tale, and it's especially fun for young readers who can get the reference and feel in the know. In this book, one chair's made of coral ("too many bumps"), and another has a seat of seaweed ("too slippery"). As Brett creatively blends mermaids, sea life, Okinawa, and the story of Goldilocks, she gives kids the chance to see an old tale through wondrously new eyes.

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