The Mermaid Atlas: Merfolk of the World

Laurence King. Jun. 2020. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781786275851.
Gr 4-7–The legends of mermaids and mermen can be found in cultures across the world. In this illustrated collection, Claybourne explains parts of their origin stories from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Divided into very short chapters by location, the text includes tales about mermaids like Iara from the Amazon and Nommos, who traveled from space to Mali. There are also descriptions of mermaids like the Lamia from Spain, the man-eating Mondao from Zimbabwe, and the Sinjike from Korea. Some of the mermaids began their lives as humans and moved to the sea or ocean while others started their life in a lake and took on human form to live on land. Some of the mermaids are benevolent; others are quite cruel. Each page contains a few short paragraphs of text, making the book easily digestible for reluctant readers. Lora’s illustrations are what make this book stand out from similar offerings. Using soft colors with plenty of blues to reflect the watery homes of these mythical creatures, this title allows readers to be transported into another place and time.
VERDICT Though a small volume, this book provides plenty to appreciate for those who want to learn more about such fabled beings.

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