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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Have you ever wondered where mermaids live? I know I have. Apparently, there’s a deep underwater world called Mermaidia and it’s home to all mermaids. It’s a fun place to live and to grow up in and, most important, “mermaids live peacefully with all sea creatures and everyone is equal.” We could learn a lot from these mermaid communities. There’s a lot of interesting things we can learn about mermaids: like how merbabies come to be, and how merbabies are born with a birth tail that is individualized by what is known as shell-a-bration scales (“special markings and curious designs”). And there’s more: birth mermagrams to announce a new merbaby, daily tails and pickatail trees, and many other mermaidial wonders of the deep, shell-shockingly beautiful sea-land of mermaids.
Julia Hengst’s picture book story, Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia, is a fun look at a magical queendom. Using creative, made-up words and describing with elaborate detail a stunningly beautiful, carefree, and peaceful land of equality and fair rights, this author combines cosmetic details of life in Mermaidia with charmingly sweet songs that mermaids and their mermaid bands sing happily. I loved the illustrations and the imaginative nature of this story. Young readers will be spellbound, wanting to learn every detail of this magical, mythical queendom. The author encourages young readers to enjoy the fun and playful nature of this book and let their own imaginations take flight (or take to the waters like the mermaids). There’s nothing more powerful for a young person than to learn how to enjoy and to use their creative imagination. Beautifully told.