The triple Caldecott winner David Wiesner brings his rich visual imagination and trademark artistry to the graphic novel format in a unique coming-of-age tale that begins underwater.
A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl's longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. Sparkling with humor and brilliantly visualized, Fish Girl's story will resonate with every young person facing the challenges and rewards of growing up.
Yeah, like I care who won what award. But a review book is a review book..even if it means my shelves are closer to collapsing.
So the book arrived. Did I really -really- want to read some bland story about "growing up"? I mean, I've done that already -some of you may have, too- it ain't great shakes. Teen girl angst? My head would need a toilet bowl fast.
So the book itself is very nicely packaged. I took a deep breath and jumped straight in...it was around 0200 hrs so I needed something to make me sleep. Fail. The art is absolutely wonderful and it looks hand drawn and water coloured. I actually ran through the book about three times to look at the art before I even started on the story! The art is that wonderful. THIS is how you should do comic art though it would take a lot of time. Cue: "But this was all digital, Terry!" If it is....I retire.
And I really liked the story but here is the thing: I did not read it as a young girl (not me -the character!) growing up, yes, there was that aspect, but the whole thing seemed -to me- to be a modern continuation of ancient mythology....it all seemed to be there...unless that was just me? There is the element of growing to be an individual with more freedom but I think by promoting it as just that will turn a lot of potential readers away.
The scenes with Fish Girl, named Mira by her friend Livia, and the octopus are lovely. And Neptune has you wondering -just an attraction owner or-? This is not "just a girl book" because I was thinking that even an X-Men fan (I'm talking about the pre-1995 real X-Men comic and what it stood for) could appreciate this because Mira is, after all, "gifted" (?) in a way and trying to find her place in society. The book works on so many levels so don't sell it short based on that "growing up girl" line!
And I just checked. I need not retire just yet. There is a Q&A with the creators at Publishers Weekly and, yes, this is drawn and water coloured art. :-P I still got it.
Buy it for your kids or for yourself. Male or female. I read it straight through and I'll not read it again for a very long time because I want the reaction I got from the first reading!