Jozef and I have individually and collectively amassed a large collection of mermaid books so we thought we might feature some of them in a blog series. The first one's a recent acquisition to Jozef's library called The Secret World of Mermaids by Francine Rose. The book is deceptive because it's quite large and thick and you think on first glance there'll be lots of reading material. This isn't the case – there are only 34 pages. The packaging is thick because the book includes four mermaid figurines embedded in the front cover, which we challenge you to remove and spoil the aesthetic. Having said that, the illustrations are quite beautiful and lush and have more of an adult sensibility to them (rather like PreRaphaelite paintings) than the usual cutesy sketched mermaids created for youngsters (9 to 12 year olds) to whom this book is targeted. The cover illustration which also appears in the interior reminds me of an Australian singer/actress called Sophie Monk. I was quite drawn into and captivated by the various mermaid cultures – the Shipsavers, Wishgivers, Shapeshifters, Weatherworkers and Dark Mermaids – and was quite sorry to have the book come to an end. And just for the record – according to the Mermaid Map inside – Australia has Whalecallers and Dreambenders swimming up the east coast.
If you want to learn common Mermish (Sesurim) this is the phrase to embed in your memory – "To hisna rendi–to fan sesmuna (I mean no harm–I am a friend)!