Reviews for Julian Is a Mermaid

by Jessica Love

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

After seeing three magnificent-looking people dressed as mermaids, Julian creates a makeshift mermaid outfit. Abuela discovers her grandson's attire; how will she react? She helps Julian complete the outfit, then proudly takes him to a festive sea-creature-attire parade. Small but important details add depth to Julian's emotional journey. Vibrant watercolors with gouache and ink create lively scenes that splash and swirl on the page. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Julin knows he's a mermaid.On the el with his abuela, Afro-Latinx Julin looks on, entranced, as three mermaids enter their car. Instantly enamored, Julin imagines himself a mermaid. In a sequence of wordless double-page spreads, the watercolor, gouache, and ink artperfect for this watercentric taledepicts adorable Julin's progression from human to mermaid: reading his book on the el with water rushing in, then swimming in that water and freeing himself from the constraints of human clothing as his hair grows longer (never losing its texture). When Julin discovers he has a mermaid tail, his charming expressions make his surprise and delight palpable. At home, Julin tells Abuela that he, too, is a mermaid; Abuela admonishes him to "be good" while she takes a bath. A loose interpretation of being "good" could include what happens next as Julin decides to act out his "good idea": He sheds his clothes (all except undies), ties fern fronds and flowers to his headband, puts on lipstick, and fashions gauzy, flowing curtains into a mermaid tail. When Abuela emerges with a disapproving look, readers may think Julin is in troublebut a twist allows for a story of recognition and approval of his gender nonconformity. Refreshingly, Spanish words aren't italicized.Though it could easily feel preachy, this charmingly subversive tale instead offers a simple yet powerful story of the importance of being seen and affirmed. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

On the subway with his abuela after swim class, Julián is enchanted by a group of stylish women in mermaid costumes on their way to a parade. Once home, while his abuela is in the shower, Julián improvises a mermaid costume for himself out of curtains, a potted plant, and a vase of flowers. When Abuela sees the tiny havoc he wreaked in her living room, she doesn't scold him; rather, she embraces his enthusiasm, gives him the finishing touch for his costume, and takes him to the parade. Love's painted scenes glow against muted backgrounds, with saturated, opaque tones tracing the graceful shapes of the figures. They're especially striking when Julián gets swept away in a vivid underwater fantasy: a school of sea creatures whirls around him as he transforms into a mermaid. That scene is nicely replicated when he arrives at the parade, which is populated by scores of people in a wide variety of inventive costumes. The affectionate depiction of a broad range of body types and skin tones makes this particularly cheery.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Riding home on the subway, Julián is transfixed by three mermaids-voluptuous and self-possessed, with flowing tresses of black, pink, and red, and wearing aqua fishtail costumes (the book is printed on a Kraft-like paper, so the colors seem to literally glow). "Julián loves mermaids," writes debut author-illustrator Love, and her protagonist falls into a reverie: he's under the sea, and amid a dazzling school of fish, he sprouts a radiant orange fishtail and waist-length curly hair. While Abuela takes a bath, Julián takes matters into his own hands. He strips down to his underpants, paints his lips purple, fashions a fishtail costume from curtains, and creates a headdress from ferns and flowers. He is, in a word, fabulous. Love lets an anxious beat pass before Abuela takes Julián by the hand, leading him to what some readers may recognize as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. "Like you, mijo," says Abuela. "Let's join them." Love's deep empathy for her characters and her keen-eyed observations of urban life come together in a story of love, understanding, and embracing the mermaid within us all. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PreS-Gr 2-Young Julian lives with his abuela and is obsessed with mermaids. He imagines taking off his clothes, growing a tail, and swimming freely through the blue-tinted water with swirls of fish and stingrays. After spying some women on a train dressed as mermaids, Julian later tells his abuela, "I am also a mermaid," then proceeds to wrap a curtain around his waist as a "tail." Ferns in his hair complete the fantastical look, and when his grandmother catches him -is he in trouble? Not at all! In fact, she takes Julian to a festival where people are dressed as fantastically as Julian. Love couples the spare narrative with vivid, imaginative, and breathtaking illustrations. VERDICT A heartwarming must-have for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.