Little Maya loves the beach, but her parents want to relax, so she is left to find a playmate or entertain herself.
Too shy to say hi to the other kids having fun, Maya gets on her turtle floaty and closes her eyes. Next thing we know, brown-skinned, Afro-puffed Maya is “riding the waves on her turtle’s back!” against a backdrop of multicolored clouds and pink sky. She and her turtle dive down to the ocean floor and discover “a secret underwater world!” There, Maya transforms into a blue-tailed mermaid. When she hears a voice calling a greeting, she swims after it. The voice is not coming from the large, yellow fish, the octopus, or the sea horses she finds. Finally, she finds another young mermaid—white, pigtailed, and yellow-finned—who says it’s Maya’s turn to hide, and they play. Finally, Maya wakes up on the beach to a “familiar voice” introducing herself and asking if she wants to play: It’s a white girl with pigtails and a yellow swimsuit. Neat, clean illustrations made using gouache, colored pencil, and digital assembly use deep colors, soft shapes, and ample space to create playful scenes that are pleasing to the eye and comfortably childlike.
A cute and simple story about making friends. (Picture book. 3-8)