Mini-Review: The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids, Ammi-Joan Paquette & Marie LeTourneau (2012)

June 21st, 2015 1:53 pm by Kelly Garbato

Rock that Conch Shell!

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through NetGalley.)

I was six years old when Splash first came out; and, although I probably didn’t get to watch it for a few more years, once I did I was officially hooked on mermaids. I used to swim around the pool with my legs mentally fused together, pretending that I was diving to depths much greater than our paltry four feet. I didn’t get to go to the beach often – the nearest one prohibited swimming due to pollution – so on those rare occasions when I was able to visit, my mom practically had to drag me home. To this day, I still have a thing for mermaids (and Daryl Hannah).

I wish I had a copy of The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids twenty-five years ago.

With the help of author Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrator Marie LeTourneau, imaginative kids (and their frazzled parents) can turn an otherwise mundane day at the beach into a magical outing in search of mermaid friends. Collect sand dollars to temp mermaids out of hiding – and trade at the market. Make sand mermaids to let them know that you stopped by. Leave them some kelp or Queen Anne’s Lace for snacking. Play hide and seek in the water. Be creative!

As cute and quirky as it is, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids could benefit from a design overhaul. Illustrations are superimposed on photographs of kids playing at the beach – but I think a fully illustrated book would better capture the whimsy this subject deserves. Likewise, the text is quite plain, and is placed on a white background – which usually takes up at least half of the page wherever text does appear. There’s a ton of white space here, and not a whole lot of artistic flourishes outside of the pictures. The overall effect just doesn’t quite do justice to the subject matter.

However, I love that Paquette and LeTourneau included mermaids and children of color – including male and female mermaid trackers. Mermaids are wicked awesome, and there’s no reason boys can’t enjoy them too!

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

 

Comments (May contain spoilers!)

Diversity: Yes. The artwork includes mermaids and children of color – including male and female mermaid trackers. Mermaids are wicked awesome, and there’s no reason boys can’t enjoy them too!

 

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