Published by Candlewick
Summary: On his way home from swim lessons with his abuela, Julian sees some women dressed as mermaids. He is enchanted and imagines himself growing fins and swimming underwater. When they get home, abuela takes a bath, and Julian sets about transforming himself into a mermaid. He creates a flowered headdress, applies some makeup, and makes himself a tail from a lace curtain. When abuela emerges from the bath, she gives Julian a good looking over, and he thinks, “Uh-oh”. But she simply gives him a couple necklaces, takes his hand, and leads him to the beach, where the two of them join in a joyful mermaid parade. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Pros: A celebration of self-expression, as wise abuela not only allows her grandson to dream of being a mermaid, but takes him to a place where he can display his beautiful costume and join others who are similarly dressed. Even the real-life illustrations have a somewhat dreamy nature to them. A first-time illustrator who may get some Caldecott consideration.
Cons: I read somewhere that the parade in this story is based on the Coney Island mermaid parade. It would have been fun to read a little about that and/or see some photos.