The Mermaid

Jan Brett. Putnam, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17072-0
In this dazzling remix, Brett (Gingerbread Christmas) sets “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” under the sea. The bears turn into octopuses, dressed in the straw hats and indigo-dyed coats of rural Japan, and Goldilocks becomes Kiniro, a mermaid with black hair and golden scales (“kin-iro” is Japanese for gold). A sweet twist at the outset imagines Otosan and Okosan (Japanese for father and mother) putting a new hat on Baby: “Baby did not like the floppy new hat. The hat was not happy, either.” The hat is actually a ray, and although Kiniro ruins as many of the octopuses’ possessions as Goldilocks does (“Someone has been crunching on my crustaceans”), she leaves Baby a much nicer piece of headwear. Brett’s brightly colored, highly detailed art shines in this aquatic setting as she embellishes the octopuses’ dwelling with shells, coral, and tropical fish that swim in and out of the windows. Small, jewel-like vignettes set into the main spreads reveal what’s happening elsewhere (Kiniro sleeping innocently offstage as the octopus family returns). Brett’s fans will rejoice, and she’ll make new ones, too. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review listed an incorrect imprint.

Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 08/22/2017
Genre: Children's
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