A tiny mermaid who yearns for grown-up work patiently completes a task that transforms her world.
For her fable about patience and perseverance, Idle has created stunning watery spreads full of curves reflecting the gently scalloped edges of the giant clam that is Pearl’s home. Done with colored pencils in shades of pink and white for the mermaid and soft blues fading to green sea, these suggest an animator’s dream. Her ocean has breaking waves, softly colored coral reefs, “towering forests of kelp,” and a giant—but never threatening—octopus. The tiny grain of sand Pearl’s mother gives her to care for seems insignificant in comparison, but with time, careful nurturing, and polishing, it grows and glows, finally taking its place in the night sky to light up her world. The lyrical text perfectly matches these stunning illustrations. As Pearl and her mother “[swim] up…and up…and up…” the figures rise and the color of the sea lightens. Disappointment at the seemingly trivial task she’s assigned weighs her “down…down…down,” and she slowly sinks back into darker depths. After many scenes showing the small mermaid in a larger sea, a close-up of her face as she discovers the sand’s potential emphasizes her new understanding. Careful word choice and thoughtful phrasing make this a pleasure to read aloud.
A gentle, glowing lesson that even the smallest efforts can lead to large, even environmental results. (Picture book. 3-7)