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?
It's one of my favorites too. It's beautiful, and thoughtful, and every time we read it (every bedtime these days!) there is something new for her to look at and think about and ask about. And the artwork is just phenomenal.
A lovely book, one which pairs a thoughtful, emotionally resonant story about a young boy exploring his identity with absolutely gorgeous illustrations, Julián Is a Mermaid is everything a picture-book should be. Word and image work seamlessly together, making it particularly astonishing that this is a debut from author/artist Jessica Love. I appreciated the fact that Julián's abuela is so loving and accepting, I enjoyed the New York setting (for those not in the know, New York has an annual Mermaid Parade, held at Coney Island in the summer), and I loved the artwork. The pages are brown, and the watercolor, gouache and ink illustrations vibrantly colorful. I particularly loved the scene in which the mermaid Julián confronts the huge blue fish - it fairly leaps off the page! Recommended to all young mermaid lovers, and to anyone looking for children's stories about little boys who don't conform to the stereotypical interests and image often defined as masculine.