Spencer and Vincent, the Jellyfish Brothers

illus. by Emily Dove. 40p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534412088.
PreS-Gr 2—Spencer and Vincent are jellyfish brothers, looking out for each other with no parents to care for them. One morning, a "wave of superior magnitude" sweeps Vincent away. With some help from a whale named Horace, a mermaid, a seahorse, a sea star, and a passing pelican—along with a bit of personal courage and determination—the two are reunited. An author's note elaborates further on how jellyfish are not really fish at all (they are zooplankton), where they live, and several nicknames given to them. The text itself never alludes to any of these facts, focusing almost exclusively on "the whimsical ocean of imagination," with the inclusion of a mermaid and a caring whale who nudges the jelly along toward safety. The rather lengthy narrative is by turns wry and sophisticated, silly and repetitious. Children may appreciate the inclusion of so many sea creatures, along with the perky illustrations, but will need to be reminded that mermaids are fictional by comparison.
VERDICT A popular subject that is better served elsewhere. Alternative picture books about jellies and sea life, such as Joy the Jellyfish by Kristen Collier and Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett J. Krosoczka may appeal even more.

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