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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Children's Room jE/Love Checked In
Children's Room jE/Love Checked In
Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2018.
First edition
Physical Description
34 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm
Ages 4-8.
Main Author
Jessica Love (author)
Review by New York Times Review

IMPEACHMENT: A Citizen's Guide, by Cass R. Sunstein. (Harvard University, paper, $7.95.) True to its subtitle, Sunstein's short book is a guide to everything you need to know about impeachment. This topic has taken on new urgency, though Sunstein does not take up the Trump presidency directly. THE TEMPTATION OF FORGIVENESS, by Donna Leon. (Atlantic Monthly, $26.) Commissario Guido Brunetti embarks on another atmospheric Venetian criminal investigation, this time coming to the aid of a woman whose husband has been attacked on one of the city's stone bridges. A TOKYO ROMANCE: A Memoir, by lan Buruma. (Penguin Press, $26.) The editor of The New York Review of Books recaptures his youthful experiences in the avant-garde film and theater world of the postwar city. "I always felt drawn to outsiders," Buruma writes. "Hovering on the fringes was where I liked to be." A LONG WAY FROM HOME, by Peter Carey. (Knopf, $26.95.) This latest novel from the author of "True History of the Kelly Gang" and "Oscar and Lucinda" follows a married couple and their bachelor neighbor on a bumptious 10,000-mile auto race in 1950s Australia. MY FATHER'S WAKE: How the Irish Teach Us How to Live, Love and Die, by Kevin Toolis. (Da Capo, $26.) The hospital death of Toolis's brother, followed by his father's death in small-town Ireland, led him to examine death rituals around the world. The Irish wake, he says, is "the best guide to life you could ever have." THE NEIGHBORHOOD, by Mario Vargas Llosa. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) Written telenova-style, with chapters alternating among various characters, Vargas Llosa's 20 th novel is an edgy send-up of life in Peru before the downfall of Alberto Fujimori. Wealthy friends find themselves in a difficult situation when one is blackmailed by a tabloid editor and the other, a lawyer, tries to help. VICTORIANS UNDONE: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum, by Kathryn Hughes. (HarperCollins, $29.95.) Hughes's detailed account of five notable 19th-century body parts topples great figures from their pedestals. Made rather than given, these bodies tell an engrossing story about the culture that fashioned them. THE WHICH WAY TREE, by Elizabeth Crook. (Little, Brown, $26.) Crook's western-inflected novel follows a pair of siblings on their hunt for the wild panther that upended their lives. JULIÁN IS A MERMAID, by Jessica Love. (Candlewick, $16.99; ages 4 to 8.) This picture book is full of surprises and delights as it tells the story of a little boy who, dazzled by the sight of mermaids on a subway train, goes home to play dress up - and later attends the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [August 30, 2019] Review by Booklist Review

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.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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 PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

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, Julin, is walking to the subway with one of the women, his abuela, followed by three magnificent-looking people dressed as mermaids. Julin 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, theres a very slight narrative pause: Oh! Uh-oh. How will she react? Happily, its all good: Abuela gives Julin 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 ( la Coney Islands Mermaid Parade). Julins 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 l (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Julin knows he's a mermaid.On the el with his abuela, Afro-Latinx Julin looks on, entranced, as three mermaids enter their car. Instantly enamored, Julin imagines himself a mermaid. In a sequence of wordless double-page spreads, the watercolor, gouache, and ink artperfect for this watercentric taledepicts adorable Julin'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 Julin discovers he has a mermaid tail, his charming expressions make his surprise and delight palpable. At home, Julin 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 Julin 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 Julin is in troublebut 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) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.