Julian Is a Mermaid
Julian Is a Mermaid

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Annotation: A glimpse of costumed mermaids on the subway leaves young Julian flooded with wonder and eager to dress up just like the ladies. But what will Abuela think about the way Julian sees himself?
Catalog Number: #167844
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-9045-7 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2431-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-9045-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2431-9
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018942312
Dimensions: 24 x 25 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
On the subway with his abuela after swim class, Julián is enchanted by a group of stylish women in mermaid costumes on their way to a parade. Once home, while his abuela is in the shower, Julián improvises a mermaid costume for himself out of curtains, a potted plant, and a vase of flowers. When Abuela sees the tiny havoc he wreaked in her living room, she doesn't scold him; rather, she embraces his enthusiasm, gives him the finishing touch for his costume, and takes him to the parade. Love's painted scenes glow against muted backgrounds, with saturated, opaque tones tracing the graceful shapes of the figures. They're especially striking when Julián gets swept away in a vivid underwater fantasy: a school of sea creatures whirls around him as he transforms into a mermaid. That scene is nicely replicated when he arrives at the parade, which is populated by scores of people in a wide variety of inventive costumes. The affectionate depiction of a broad range of body types and skin tones makes this particularly cheery.
Publishers Weekly
Riding home on the subway, Julián is transfixed by three mermaids-voluptuous and self-possessed, with flowing tresses of black, pink, and red, and wearing aqua fishtail costumes (the book is printed on a Kraft-like paper, so the colors seem to literally glow). -Julián loves mermaids,- writes debut author-illustrator Love, and her protagonist falls into a reverie: he-s under the sea, and amid a dazzling school of fish, he sprouts a radiant orange fishtail and waist-length curly hair. While Abuela takes a bath, Julián takes matters into his own hands. He strips down to his underpants, paints his lips purple, fashions a fishtail costume from curtains, and creates a headdress from ferns and flowers. He is, in a word, fabulous. Love lets an anxious beat pass before Abuela takes Julián by the hand, leading him to what some readers may recognize as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. -Like you, mijo,- says Abuela. -Let-s join them.- Love-s deep empathy for her characters and her keen-eyed observations of urban life come together in a story of love, understanding, and embracing the mermaid within us all. Ages 4-8. (May)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Julián knows he's a mermaid.On the el with his abuela, Afro-Latinx Julián looks on, entranced, as three mermaids enter their car. Instantly enamored, Julián imagines himself a mermaid. In a sequence of wordless double-page spreads, the watercolor, gouache, and ink art—perfect for this watercentric tale—depicts adorable Julián's progression from human to mermaid: reading his book on the el with water rushing in, then swimming in that water and freeing himself from the constraints of human clothing as his hair grows longer (never losing its texture). When Julián discovers he has a mermaid tail, his charming expressions make his surprise and delight palpable. At home, Julián tells Abuela that he, too, is a mermaid; Abuela admonishes him to "be good" while she takes a bath. A loose interpretation of being "good" could include what happens next as Julián decides to act out his "good idea": He sheds his clothes (all except undies), ties fern fronds and flowers to his headband, puts on lipstick, and fashions gauzy, flowing curtains into a mermaid tail. When Abuela emerges with a disapproving look, readers may think Julián is in trouble—but a twist allows for a story of recognition and approval of his gender nonconformity. Refreshingly, Spanish words aren't italicized.Though it could easily feel preachy, this charmingly subversive tale instead offers a simple yet powerful story of the importance of being seen and affirmed. (Picture book. 3-8)
Word Count: 87
Reading Level: 0.8
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 0.8 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 195490 / grade: Lower Grades

In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world.

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.


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