The Mermaid and the Shoe

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell.
Kids Can Press, 2014.

We live in a landlocked state in the middle of the country.  I have only been to the ocean a handful of times, and the girls have only been once - last year, to the southern New Jersey shore.  But beach and ocean images are so quintessentially summer.  And if you're thinking about beaches and oceans, and if your mind has been on fairies and fantasy, too, then eventually your mind is going to wander to mermaids.  And if you're thinking about mermaids, then here is a beautiful new picture book for you.

The Mermaid and the Shoe is written and illustrated by K.G. Campbell, who illustrated this year's Newbery-winning Flora & Ulysses, Big Sis's new favorite book.  At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to King Neptune, who has fifty daughters.  All of the daughters are extraordinarily gifted in Neptune's eyes, and he loves to brag about them.


Then we meet poor little Minnow.  Minnow isn't sure where her talent lies.  She is a poor gardener, fish do not obey her, and she can't sing.  The only thing she seems good at is asking questions, to the annoyance of her mean older sisters.  One day, Minnow finds a strange red object in the water.  No one knows what it is, so Minnow sets off to find the answer herself.


Along the way, she finds the answers to some of her other questions.  Unlike Hans Christian Andersen's (or Disney's) Little Mermaid, Minnow has never seen the world outside the ocean, nor has she ever heard about it.

At last, she spies a little "earth maid," and learns what the red thing is for.


Minnow races back, excited to share her knowledge with her fellow deep sea-dwellers.  Her daddy proudly declares that Minnow is a wonderful explorer.


Here is the book trailer.  Look at those illustrations!  So, so lovely.



For more mermaid fun, be sure and check out this wonderful round-up of mermaid books and crafts at What Do We Do All Day?.  And I must add a link to this fun mermaid towel craft from Family Fun magazine.  So simple and so perfect!


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Comments

  1. Adorable book! I love mermaids that are different from the stereotypical disney mermaid -though I love her too, of course! :)
    This one's art is amazing. Such a great choice for summer :)

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    1. I've been on the waiting list for this one for a long time! Glad to finally see it in person. The girls love it. :)

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  2. I wish we had an ocean! Maybe global warming will cause the Gulf of Mexico to flood Texas and Oklahoma and we can have one... (Obviously just kidding but it could happen!) I cannot wait for my beach vacation this summer. Counting down the days.

    I love the vintagey awesomeness and the desaturated colors in the illustrations. I wonder how many parents are going to complain about Minnow's shells. Remember what a furor Ariel's bust caused? I think that was really just the Southern Baptist convention but boy are they loud.

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    1. Haha! The shells are a little skimpy, but their chests aren't especially developed, which helps.

      No beach for us this summer. Our vacation will be spent in the Kansas City area, because in the end, we do what we can afford. That's about it this year. Sigh.

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    2. Haven't been to Kansas City in a couple of years but we always have a good time there!

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    3. True, and we found some new-to-us stuff to do while we're there. We're also driving up to Atchison for the Amelia Earhart Festival!

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  3. Such a cute story! And I do love the illustrations. Great lessons also for kids who sometimes do not show any particular talent or interest in anything. Time often will form them but they only know the present and they feel bad that they are not more unique or special.

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    1. It's true. And sometimes, your calling doesn't strike you until you're grown. That's just the truth. :)

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  4. VERY pretty illustrations...also I have a question. I've been reading what Bruno Bettelheim has to say about fairy tales and realise how bereft our library is without a proper Grimm collection. Would you recommend any particular edition? Or should I just get the Andrew Lang books?

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    1. The Andrew Lang books are wonderful, and come from a variety of sources. He was the first to present certain stories in English, too.

      Grimm's tales, of course, were collected by the Grimms themselves from primary sources around Germany. Their versions of the same fairy tales often differ from Lang's or the French version (see Charles Perrault). As far as Grimm collections, it depends if you're looking for illustrations or not, or adaptations or straight translations from the original German. My two favorite collections are a bit more expensive: the collection put out by Taschen collects some of the best-known tales, with a wide variety of beautiful illustrations. There is also the Annotated Brothers Grimm,which is edited by fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar, with tons of notes filling the margins. You can also find nice classic collections. Arthur Rackham put out an illustrated edition of Grimm tales. Several different publishers have editions out now.

      For more child-friendly editions, there is a nice edition put out by Usborne.

      I hope that helps!

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    2. Thanks a million! I want it all I'm afraid - the original stories and great illustrations. According to Bettelheim the Perrault ones are too moral-ish (my word not his!) and as close to the original Grimm as possible is better. I've been reading Uses of Enchantment and its so interesting how he interprets the stories and how he thought they help kids deal with fears etc. I should probably check out the library first. I'd love a fab edition but I know a lovely one will be expensive.

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    3. I checked that out from the library this week! I haven't been able to start it yet, as I have stuff to read that will be due back sooner. I like the Grimm stuff better, too. It's just more... grim. :) You might be able to find an inexpensive copy with Arthur Rackham's illustrations. I've checked it out from the library. There's usually a single color illustration per fairy tale, but it's Arthur Rackham....

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  5. oooooh! this looks so SO sweet!! And the illustrations are lovely! I'll have to look for this for audrey. And you know I feel ya for the land locked-ness! haha! For the longest time all I'd ever seen was the Gulf of Mexico and it was so brown and disappointing ;) Now I've seen Boston Harbor and I've peered down at a rocky beach in Massachusetts ;) still not a beach babe, it seems! lol!

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    1. I've been to the Gulf of Mexico (South Padre Island), Tybee Island, GA, and the Jersey Shore. I guess I've crossed the English Channel on a ferry, but that was a bit different. ;)

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