Originally published: 28 May 2021
Author: Amanda Severn
Illustrator: Emilia Cornwell
Published by: Troubador Publishing
Genre: Children’s book
Length: 40 pages
Reading dates: 25 May 2021
Gertie the Mermaid is a little girl just like any other. The only difference is that she has a tail, and lives in the sea.
Our story begins on the night before Gertie’s birthday. Mumma Mermaid tells Gertie that she’ll be allowed to swim a little further out now that she’s older, and she gives her daughter some excellent advice about how to stay safe when exploring along the coastline.
Gertie, however, has other ideas, and decides to ignore her mother’s wise words. Soon she is having the biggest adventure of her life as she is chased down the river by land folk, and finally gets caught up in a fishing net.
Luckily Gertie comes through it all safely and gets home just in time for her birthday party to begin.
This is a lovely picture book set along the Sussex coast from Brighton to Shoreham-by-Sea which happens to be my hometown. It is Gertie the mermaid’s birthday and she decides to ignore her mumma’s advice about being careful not to be spotted by humans and explores the coastline, first visiting the Palace Pier in Brighton before heading up the coast to Shoreham, where she sees the lifeboat station, the Adur Ferry Bridge, the wind turbines and the houseboats. She is shocked by the amount of rubbish on the sea bed and before long is picked up by fishermen who are determined to make some money by selling her to an aquarium. Luckily, one of the fishermen decides to let her go and she escapes home in time for her birthday tea.
What a lovely idea for a story! I think it will be especially popular with local children who will recognise some of the landmarks and will maybe try and spot their own mermaid while they are exploring! There is a nice amount of rhyming text which I always enjoy in a children’s book and the pictures fill the whole pages which make it a delight to look at. I also liked the message about pollution and about how we need to care for beaches by not leaving rubbish behind.
It is a great book to share with children and I hope to share a copy with my 5 year old niece when I see her again.
Many thanks to Amanda and Emilia for sharing a copy of their book with me.
About the author:
Amanda Severn lives with her husband and children in a small Sussex coastal town. She has always loved to write and has tried her hand at everything from poetry to blogging. More recently she has joined forces with the illustrator Emilia Cornwell to create the character ‘Gertie the Mermaid’ in a series of children’s books.
About the Illustrator:
Emilia Cornwell is an illustrator from Shoreham-by-Sea. She studied an art foundation at Brighton MET and is an illustration student at Falmouth University. Emilia has always loved drawing since she was very little. ‘Gertie the Mermaid’ is her first children’s book, co-created with Amanda Severn, and is looking forward to developing many more characters to come.
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