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  1 Julián Is a Mermaid
Author: Love, Jessica Illustrator: Love, Jessica
Click for Large Image
Class: Easy
Age: 3-8
Language: English
Descriptors: Picture Book
Demand: Hot
LC: PZ7.1
Grade: P-3

Print Run: 10000
ISBN-13: 9780763690458
LCCN: BD18095152
Imprint: Candlewick
Pub Date: 04/23/2018
Availability: Available
List: $16.99
Physical Description: 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm H 10.31", W 9.44", D 0.36", 0.8813 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's Diverse Juvenile Books, ages 0-8
Brodart's For Youth Interest Titles
Brodart's For Youth Interest: Popular
Brodart's Insight Catalog: Children
Brodart's TOP Juvenile Titles
Awards: BCCB Starred Reviews
Horn Book Starred Reviews
Kirkus Books of Special Note
Publishers Weekly Starred Reviews
School Library Journal Starred Reviews
Starred Reviews: Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
TIPS Subjects: LGBTQ
Social Life and Customs
Family Life
JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Other, Non-Religious
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / Hispanic & Latino
LC Subjects: Gender nonconformity, Fiction
Gender nonconformity, Juvenile fiction
Individuality, Fiction
Individuality, Juvenile fiction
Mermaids, Fiction
Mermaids, Juvenile fiction
SEARS Subjects: Mermaids and mermen, Fiction
Reading Programs: Accelerated Reader Level: 0.8 , Points: 0.5
Brodart's TOP Juvenile Titles | 05/01/2018
Publisher Anno: While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? 40pp.
Starred Reviews:
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books | 05/01/2018
R. 4-8 yrs. Most people, old and young alike, understand the joy of pretend and dressup, but not every adult will understand every kid's specific costuming desires. That's the issue at hand for young Julian, who decides he's a mermaid. On the subway home from a pool trip with his abuela, Julian encounters three women dressed as mermaids, and he is instantly enthralled. In his imagination, he slips into the sea-green waters, slides off his everyday kid togs, and grows his hair and a beautiful golden tail; he cavorts with fish large and small, and he receives a string of ceremonial beads from an elegantly patterned elder fish. Snapped back to reality when the journey ends, he waves goodbye to the mermaids and chatters to his grandmother about them ("Abuela, I am also a mermaid"). Once back at his grandma's, he takes advantage of her time in the bath to dress himself up accordingly, making do with a purloined curtain for a tail and a houseplant-based headpiece (ferny, seaweedy leaves with floral accents). When his abuela emerges from the bath and catches him mid-prance, her silent stare initially seems to bode ill. Then she gives him benediction in the form of a string of lovely beads, and she takes him out to the beach costume extravaganza that was the subway mermaids' destination so that he can join all the other resplendent merpeople. The spare text is spooled out deftly, with an opener that neatly sets the situation up: "This is a boy named Julian. And this is his abuela. And those are some mermaids." Most of the text is brief dialogue between Julian and Abuela, and many pages are entirely wordless, yet within the story is wealth of subtext about adult love and acceptance of youthful yearnings. While the book will speak particularly clearly to youngsters who chafe at the pressure of gender conformity, the story of a kid who's gone over the top with Grandma's stuff and knows the risk he's run is resonant in its own right. The luminous, lovely, and layered art is what really makes the book. Author-illustrator Love's watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations glow against a soft cocoa-toned background, and there's an Afro-Caribbean flair in skin tone, language, and the juicy color and floral patterns that run through the scenes. The portraiture is fluid and exquisite, whether it's the celebration of curvy Abuela and her swimming-capped water aerobics cohort in their vibrant patterned suits, the vivid particularity of folks young and old on the hot city street, or the glamorous mermaids, with sweeps of aqua for their bodies and gorgeous ruffles and cascades of hair. Love does a particularly fine job with the face of Abuela, a reticent woman whose years have left her with Resting Skeptical Face that changes almost imperceptibly when she blesses her grandson's dreams. Look even deeper into the illustrative waters, however, and you'll see some clever thematic craftsmanship. The liquid motif continues throughout, from the swimming pool, to a spraying hydrant, to Abuela's bath, to the final beach venue, and to a delightful closing endpaper that transforms Abuela and her friends into mermaids along with Julian. Sharp-eyed viewers will also notice that the bead-granting fish in Julian's fantasy sequence sports the same patterned blue livery that Abuela dons after her bath, and that the beads she gives him are a clear real-world iteration of his imagined gems. The concluding parade is a confectionary wonder of marine fantasy that many kids will yearn to join, and it might prompt adults to set up their own in-library mermaid celebrations. More importantly, though, those who've been shy about their love for dazzle and showmanship will love the idea of a formidable grandparental ally, and they will find... Review exceeds allowable length. DS. 34p. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIV. OF ILLINOIS, c2018.
Horn Book | 05/01/2018
Preschool, Primary. The front endpapers show a group of older women in a pool and a boy swimming underwater. On the next spread (the copyright and title pages), the child, Julian, is walking to the subway with one of the women, his abuela, followed by three magnificent-looking people dressed as mermaids. Julian loves mermaids, and this encounter leads him into a daydream where he dives deep into the water, shedding clothes and transforming himself into a mermaid. Arriving home, the boy creates a makeshift mermaid outfit from household objects (including the leaves of a houseplant and window curtains) and puts on lipstick. When Abuela discovers her grandson in mermaid attire, there's a very slight narrative pause: "'Oh!' Uh-oh." How will she react? Happily, it's all good: Abuela gives Julian a string of beads to complete the outfit, then the two walk proudly arm in arm toward a festive parade, joining others joyfully dressed as mermaids, stingrays, and other sea creatures (a la Coney Island's Mermaid Parade). Julian's emotional journey takes on depth through small but important details: a wary look in the mirror, a slight inward slump of the shoulders, a chin held high while marching down the street. Love uses vibrant watercolors with gouache and ink and a lively style to create scenes that splash and swirl to life on the page. minh le. 40pg. THE HORN BOOK, c2018.
Kirkus Reviews | 03/15/2018
Julian knows he's a mermaid. On the el with his abuela, Afro-Latinx Julian looks on, entranced, as three mermaids enter their car. Instantly enamored, Julian imagines himself a mermaid. In a sequence of wordless double-page spreads, the watercolor, gouache, and ink art--perfect for this watercentric tale--depicts adorable Julian's progression from human to mermaid: reading his book on the el with water rushing in, then swimming in that water and freeing himself from the constraints of human clothing as his hair grows longer (never losing its texture). When Julian discovers he has a mermaid tail, his charming expressions make his surprise and delight palpable. At home, Julian tells Abuela that he, too, is a mermaid; Abuela admonishes him to "be good" while she takes a bath. A loose interpretation of being "good" could include what happens next as Julian decides to act out his "good idea": He sheds his clothes (all except undies), ties fern fronds and flowers to his headband, puts on lipstick, and fashions gauzy, flowing curtains into a mermaid tail. When Abuela emerges with a disapproving look, readers may think Julian is in trouble--but a twist allows for a story of recognition and approval of his gender nonconformity. Refreshingly, Spanish words aren't italicized. Though it could easily feel preachy, this charmingly subversive tale instead offers a simple yet powerful story of the importance of being seen and affirmed. (Picture book. 3-8). 40pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2018.
Publishers Weekly | 03/05/2018
Ages 4-8. Riding home on the subway, Julian is transfixed by three mermaids--voluptuous and self-possessed, with flowing tresses of black, pink, and red, and wearing aqua fishtail costumes (the book is printed on a Kraft-like paper, so the colors seem to literally glow). "Julian loves mermaids," writes debut author-illustrator Love, and her protagonist falls into a reverie: he's under the sea, and amid a dazzling school of fish, he sprouts a radiant orange fishtail and waist-length curly hair. While Abuela takes a bath, Julian takes matters into his own hands. He strips down to his underpants, paints his lips purple, fashions a fishtail costume from curtains, and creates a headdress from ferns and flowers. He is, in a word, fabulous. Love lets an anxious beat pass before Abuela takes Julian by the hand, leading him to what some readers may recognize as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. "Like you, mijo," says Abuela. "Let's join them." Love's deep empathy for her characters and her keen-eyed observations of urban life come together in a story of love, understanding, and embracing the mermaid within us all. (May). 40p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2018.
School Library Journal | 03/01/2018
PreS-Gr 2. Young Julian lives with his abuela and is obsessed with mermaids. He imagines taking off his clothes, growing a tail, and swimming freely through the blue-tinted water with swirls of fish and stingrays. After spying some women on a train dressed as mermaids, Julian later tells his abuela, "I am also a mermaid," then proceeds to wrap a curtain around his waist as a "tail." Ferns in his hair complete the fantastical look, and when his grandmother catches him --is he in trouble? Not at all! In fact, she takes Julian to a festival where people are dressed as fantastically as Julian. Love couples the spare narrative with vivid, imaginative, and breathtaking illustrations. VERDICT A heartwarming must-have for one-on-one and small group sharing. Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston. 40p. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2018.
Journal Reviews
BookPage | 06/01/2018
4 to 8. A boy named Julian and his abuela hop on the subway, where he sees three glamorous women dressed as mermaids. Julian is transfixed; he loves mermaids. In the three spreads that follow, we are swept up in Julián’s reverie: We see the subway car become an ocean and fill with colorful sea creatures. They sweep Julian along until he's a mermaid himself. Once home, the inspired Julian makes his own mermaid costume. The curtains become his dress, a fern becomes his hair and lipstick is applied. When Abuela enters the room, she takes it all in wordlessly, and Julián’s triumphant stance becomes one of a defeated boy, sure he’ll be shamed. Instead, Abuela brings Julian a string of pearls and takes him to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, ushering him without judgment into a world of people like him. Julián parades exuberantly with his fellow mermaids, knowing that Abuela, always by his side, recognizes and accepts him for who he is. Jessica Loves vivid watercolor and gouache illustrations are made even brighter by her decision to paint on brown paper; the richly colored palette pops off the pages, and abundant character is conveyed via the subtlest of facial expressions and body language. Also subtle—and terrifically poignant—is the eloquent encouragement of Abuela’s spare words. A book for the ages, Julian Is a Mermaid is going to make a big splash. Julie Danielson. 40p. BOOKPAGE, c2018.
Booklist | 03/01/2018
Grades K-3. On the subway with his abuela after swim class, Julian is enchanted by a group of stylish women in mermaid costumes on their way to a parade. Once home, while his abuela is in the shower, Julian improvises a mermaid costume for himself out of curtains, a potted plant, and a vase of flowers. When Abuela sees the tiny havoc he wreaked in her living room, she doesn't scold him; rather, she embraces his enthusiasm, gives him the finishing touch for his costume, and takes him to the parade. Love's painted scenes glow against muted backgrounds, with saturated, opaque tones tracing the graceful shapes of the figures. They're especially striking when Julian gets swept away in a vivid underwater fantasy: a school of sea creatures whirls around him as he transforms into a mermaid. That scene is nicely replicated when he arrives at the parade, which is populated by scores of people in a wide variety of inventive costumes. The affectionate depiction of a broad range of body types and skin tones makes this particularly cheery. Hunter, Sarah. 40p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2018.
Review Citations
New York Times Book Review | 03/18/2018