Minnow, the heroine of K.G. Campbell's The Mermaid and the Shoe, is the daughter of King Neptune. Well, she is one of Neptune's 50 daughters. Each daughter has a talent- singing, making jewelry, gardening...but Minnow is only good at asking questions. One day she finds an object, and is determined to find out what it is. Turns out, asking questions is a talent- especially asking the right questions! And more importantly, she can answer a very significant one: who am I?
The illustrations in this book are magical, you constantly see and feel the movement from being underwater. I'm not sure if it's chalk? pastel? neither? but there's an eeriness to the dark coloring- with the stark illumination of the mermaids. It's beautiful, almost ghostly (but not scary). There's a beautiful scene where Minnow finds the shoe, she's swimming up with a group (or, I guess technically, a "smack") of jellyfish. Again, the contrast of the dark with a bright red-orange, and Minnow's luminescence, and the red shoe- it's so simple, but stays with you. Also, there's a pretty amazing shrugging octopus.
I love that the book encourages kids to ask questions, and lets them know that no matter how small it seems, a talent is a talent.
There's so much cute in here, too- as previously mentioned, the shrugging octopus, and when Minnow sees the "landmaid" with her "leg-hands." Very...Ariel, Scuttle and Dinglehopper. I think it would be a great one for parents and kids to read together. It also reminds kids that curiosity could also mean they are brave explorers.
The Mermaid and the Shoe is published by Kids Can Press. Digital ARC provided by NetGalley.