The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Genre: Childrens, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Each of King Neptune’s 50 mermaid daughters boasts a special talent, except for little Minnow, who seems to be good only at asking questions. When she finds a strange object, Minnow follows her questions to a wondrous place and finds answers, including the answer to the most important question of all: Who am I? A gorgeously illustrated story about finding one’s purpose.

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Minnow was such a likeable character. She lived in a society that had strict rules about what mermaids should and should not be capable of doing. Unfortunately, she wasn’t naturally good at any of the things that were valued by other mermaids, and her talents involved stuff that her people rarely, if ever, thought about. The most interesting thing about this to me was how she reacted to it. She was dismayed by not fitting in anywhere, of course, but she was also determined to figure out where she did belong. That part of her personality was so endearing that I couldn’t wait to see if she’d be successful.

There was a major conflict in this story that was never resolved. It had to do with Minnow’s strained relationship with one of her sisters, and it played such an important role in the early scenes that I was pretty surprised when it wasn’t picked back up again after she returned from her adventure. Leaving it out made the ending feel unfinished to me.

The best part of the plot for me happened after Minnow decided to go on an adventure to see if she could figure out the purpose of the strange object she’d found floating around in the sea. She was such a brave girl that I looked forward to seeing what she’d discover about it and if she’d get answers to her questions about how it worked.

If you enjoy modern fairy tales, I’d recommend giving The Mermaid and the Shoe a try.

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