Once there was a boy called Luka, who lived in a town beside a deep silvery sea. Luka longed to splash in the surf and dive beneath silver-bright waves, but he couldn't swim. One day, Luka sees a girl gliding through the waves, dipping and soaring like a fish. Luka has never seen anyone swim so well. Sylvia teaches Luka how to swim, and that night, Luka dreams that Sylvia is a mermaid and they have a beautiful underwater adventure visiting the mermaid palace. And when Luka starts school, Sylvia is there! The other children crowd around her to ask why she's in a wheelchair, and Luka tells everyone that it's because Sylvia is a mermaid. Luka knows that to him she will always be a mermaid and they will have a thousand more adventures together.
When I looked through the latest box of review books I had to take Mermaid for the simple reason that my daughters (6.5 and 5 years old) and one of my homebased carekids (3.5 years) are obsessed with mermaids. The front cover shows a cute mermaid and that hooked the kids too. Sure the book is great for your mermaid fanatic but there is so much more to this book and if I could give it more than 10/10 I would.
I have never come across a book that is so accepting of a child with disabilities. It is truly magical. If you know a child in a wheelchair then you need to share this book with them and all the young children you know. Sylvia is a great swimmer as well as good friend.
Luka wants nothing more than to swim when sees a girl swimming in the water he thinks she is fantastic and hardly notices that when she is out of the water Sylvia needs a wheelchair. Sylvia teaches him to swim. Luka dreams she is a mermaid and they have a great adventure together. The next morning he arrives at school to find Sylvia is a new kid in his class. When the others ask her lots of questions Luka tells them she is a mermaid from a palace in the sea.
When I read this to my pre-schoolers they didn't understand about the dream to her she was a mermaid because she had a tail in many of the pictures. My daughters both understood the true meaning of the book and thought it was great. As an adult I think it is very cleverly written. Of course a mermaid wouldn't be able to walk around on land. A wheelchair is a very practical solution.
I showed this book to my visiting teacher (a trained early childhood teacher) and she loved it too. The illustrations are lovely and the message about true friendship and individual differences is so important for all of us to learn. My eldest is taking it to school tomorrow to share with her class. I am sure once her teacher reads it Mermaids will be added to the school library.
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