Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mermaids on Parade by Melanie Hope Greenberg

Today is the 32nd Annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island.  Now, we have a lot of parades here in New York City, probably one every weekend somewhere.  But this is one of my favorites.  It is one of those funky parades I used to go to every year with my Kiddo.  No matter what the weather, we would watch all the different mermaid, King Nepturne and all kinds of sea creature incarnations than walk on down Surf Aveneu to Nathan's Famous for our annual hot dog and french fries, followed by ice cream on the boardwalk (if it's Coney Island, then it must be pistachio for me).  

So, you can imagine how pleased I was when I discovered Melanie Greenberg's picture book Mermaids on Parade.  In her story, a young girl narrates the day as she gets ready to participate in the parade as a mermaid, along with her mermaid mom and pirate dad, Greenberg has captured all the fun of this parade, right down to the screech of the subway train's wheels as it pulls into the station, depositing more onlookers with each train.

And there are rituals that are involved in this parade, our narrator tells us.  Cutting the four ribbons along the way - one for each season until finally cutting the summer ribbon to open the ocean.  Once the ocean is open,she says that fruit is tossed into the sea to guarantee a good summer of swimming.  But at the end of the day, will our narrator take home a winning trophy for her mermaid costume and seashell wagon?

I love this book, it brings back so many wonderful memories.  Not only did Greenberg write the story, but she also did the illustrations.  Her bright, whimsical illustrations done in gouache, pen and pencil are done in a palatte of summery colors and only add to the enjoyment of the story.  One of my favorite illustrations is a bird's eye view of Coney Island complete with sand, surf, amusement park, Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone (still considered by many to be the best wooden roller coaster around) and of course, Nathan's Famous.

Even if you are not a New Yorker, and never get to see the real parade, this is a fun book to share with your young readers.  In fact, it may be a better Mermaid Parade that the real thing, which lately can get a bit too real at times.  And as an added bonus, there are even really simple instructions for making your own mermaid tail at the back of the book.

I bought a copy of Mermaids on Parade for my Kiddo even though she is no longer a child.  I am putting together a collection of picture books of experiences that we shared when she was growing up and that I think she might like to share with her own Kiddos when she has them.

If your young reader loves summer and summertime rituals as much as my Kiddo does, than Mermaids on Parade just may be the book to read this summer.

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was purchased for my Kiddo's personal library


  1. Looks cute! (Oddly, my review tomorrow involves mermaids on Coney Island.)

  2. Thank you so very much for reviewing my book! Melanie Hope Greenberg


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