Unlike her talented older sisters, a little mermaid feels disappointingly ordinary until her curiosity unveils her special skills.
Each of King Neptune’s 50 mermaid daughters has a remarkable talent—except Minnow, who asks lots of questions, like why crabs don’t have fins, where bubbles go and what lies beyond their underwater kingdom. Her sister Calypso dismissively chides her to “stop asking useless questions…and be remarkable.” When Minnow discovers a mysterious object no one can identify, she’s determined to find out what it is. Her relentless curiosity carries her above water, where Minnow sees a girl wearing a pair of shoes similar to the mysterious object. With her questions answered, Minnow triumphantly returns to her underwater family, heralded as a “daring explorer.” Delicate, ethereal watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations rely on muted blue-gray washes accented with splashes of color to convey Neptune’s underwater kingdom, with its flora and fauna. Kelp-enclosed cameo close-ups of Minnow and her sisters with white, gossamer hair and golden-scaled tails alternate with luminous double-page spreads featuring diminutive Minnow, carrying a scarlet shoe and fearlessly ascending from the dark underwater world into the brilliant sun and sky, where she watches a “landmaid” reveal the secret of shoes.
Although this luminous tale of self-discovery has echoes of “The Little Mermaid,” like Minnow, it sings its own strong song. (Picture book. 3-7)