May 15, 2012

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Ammi-Joan Paquette

Illustrated by: Marie LeTourneau

Published on: May 15, 2012

Published by: Tanglewood Press

Provided by the publisher for review through NetGalley

Beach season in Japan is short. I don't get this at all, I think if you are near a beach any day could be a beach day! (How can you tell I am from somewhere landlocked?) Now there are seasons where the jellyfish run rampant, and where we live there is ash to deal with as well, but the beach season is a little short (middle of July to end of August). Also, most people are on the beach from 10am to 4pm, which to someone as transparent as I, are the exact times I should not be anywhere near the sun!  Consequently, we tend to go to the beach when no one else is there. During the daytime in May to June, and early in the morning during beach season.

It's so lovely to show up at a beach with no one else there, it feels like a new world you are exploring.

That's what this book does well, makes you feel like you are exploring a whole new world above, below, and around the sea.

This is written like nonfiction picture book, with emphasis on descriptive phrases and new vocabulary, like curling eddies, tide pool, and long craggy finger. Photos accompany the introduction of beach life, like sand dollars, Queen Anne's Lace, and abalone shells. Also, like my favourite nonfiction books, this has activities the reader can experience for himself, in this case sand mermaids (the summer equivalent of snow angels).

The pages are a mix of mermaid illustrations on photographs of beach scenes, ala Little Einsteins. Normally this is not my favourite style, but in this case it works to differentiate real from not real in the nonfiction style.

This spurred my kids and I to have a chat about how descriptive the words for many beach items are. Look at sand dollar- the English word dredges up a very cool image, but the Japanese (tako no makura, タコのマクラ) is even more imaginative (it means octopus pillow). I wonder why?

This is a fun book with adorable mermaids as your guide to the wonders of the beach! It makes me excited for the weekend so we can explore our own beaches, armed with the right vocab and a mission (finding Japanese mermaids!).


  1. Replies
    1. It is cute! The mermaids' expressions are adorable.

  2. This looks adorable! I love the idea of illustrated mermaids on real photos. It must make for an cool dynamic look. Now if only we could discover some real mermaids... ;)

    1. I'll be spending some time looking for some this summer! They might be closer to your side of the ocean though!

  3. I love the sound of octopus pillows, it even creates an adorable mental image.

    The short beach season surprised me. I grew up near the beach and we went whenever we could, which meant every weekend from mid-to-late spring thru summer into early autumn - but that's the benefit of living in Australia. Now in almost retirement (my parents refuse to acknowledge they are retirees) my parents have moved to a unit right beside the beach at the Gold Coast.

    Sounds like I might have to check the local bookstore for this one - buying online tends to lead to too many additional impulse buys. Who am I kidding, buying books in the bookstore does the same thing!

    1. I make impulse buys of books wherever I am. At least online I can have a wishlist!

  4. Hmmm, I'm gonna have to look for this one! I love how you always have such a cool variety of reviews, where do you find them all?

    1. Thank you! I found this one on Netgalley, which you should check out (although their picture book selection is small). But mostly I find them through other picture book bloggers. This community is so fun but so dangerous for my wallet!

  5. Fascinating to hear about the cultural differences re going to the beach. I'd go every day if I could - and like you - early in the day or late after everyone's gone home. Ash? Is that from a nearby volcano?


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