Oh, mermaids! You have held my attention since I was a tiny little thing. There is an album buried in the many bookshelves of my house with me, ages 3-7, in various bathing suits sitting in my kiddie pool with my legs crossed because I was a self proclaimed mermaid and I forced my legs to be a tail.
Mermaids have always held a soft, warm place in my heart and my friends know this well. For my birthday I received Mermaids by Skye Alexander in the mail from one of my friends.
First, the book is beautiful. Varying shades of blue with artwork within depicting different mermaids and blue print ink. It's absolutely pretty and small in size which makes it an ease to carry around. You can say not to judge a book by its cover but this is a book I'd leave out on a coffee table, if only for show, because it's nice to look at.
The book itself is informative -- this isn't a fictional story! Skye Alexander neatly describes the mythology behind mermaids and goes from continent to continent with brief histories of these finned creatures for different cultures. Much like other mythologies of the world, it's always interesting to see that what the beliefs are in, say, China are similar to something believed in England. Mermaids are a widespread idea and the book raises some good points. My favorite being that if mermaids are supposedly manatees mistaken for women (how you could mistake them for a woman I don't know...) then why were they spotted so far north where manatees don't live? Questions like that are raised but overall, the book gives you more information than you ever thought existed on these creatures.
I certainly came away knowing more about mermaids than I had before and was able to take what information I was given and supply it to further research which I did on my own which is great! This has helped to provide great fodder for creative writing that I do in my free time.
The only downside I found to the book was that at times I felt like Skye Alexander was making a sales pitch for various mermaid creations. Fake tails and the likes. She also had a tendency to be repetitive in some parts. Granted, many of the mermaid stories across the world are very similar but I am sure there are a few parts where she literally repeats the same information over again.
All in all, I have a feeling I'll be going back to this book while writing if mermaids somehow pop up in my stories. It was fun to read, especially in the summer (I know, I'm posting this in November but I definitely read it in the summer... sorry!). A wonderful gift, something to leave out for people to look at, and enjoyable to reference.