Julián is a mermaid

Jessica Love

Book - 2018

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?

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2018.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
34 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm
Audience
Ages 4-8.
ISBN
9780763690458
0763690457
Main Author
Jessica Love (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

On the subway with his abuela after swim class, Julián 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, Julián 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 Julián 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. Grades K-3. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Riding home on the subway, Julián 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). "Julián 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, Julián 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 Julián 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. Ages 4–8. (May) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

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 Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Glimpsing a trio of women dressed up in fabulous mermaid costumes while riding the subway home with his abuela, little Julián resolves to make a fancy mermaid costume and headdress for himself and wonders what his abuela will think of the mess he makes, and more importantly, how his costume will reflect how he sees himself.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Juliâan 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 Juliâan 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 messhe makes -- and even more importantly, what will she think about how Juliâan sees himself?

Review by Publisher Summary 3

When Juliâan notices three women dressed like mermaids on the subway, he dreams of becoming a mermaid himself, but worries what his abuela might think.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Winner of a 2019 Stonewall Book AwardIn an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world.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? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.