From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—The Mermaid Parade, a summer solstice ritual to open the beach season at Coney Island, started in 1983 as the revival of an older festival. Greenberg paints detailed—and accurate—layouts of the neighborhood, complete with shops, arcades, the F train to Coney Island, Astroland, and diverse people decked out in their sea-creature finery. She lavishes each joyful spread with upbeat colors and patterns. Skies echo the changing blue tints of the ocean. The minimal story line—a young girl narrates as she marches in the parade with her parents—functions like a tour guide, calling attention to the sights. The wealth of detail turns the pages into a Where's Waldo game: adults and children might challenge each other to locate the three main characters in an amusement-park panorama, or to count the number of pirates dancing on the Boardwalk. This is a fine way to keep the warm sun, sand, and celebration around all year.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
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A young girl is excited to march in the Coney Island annual Mermaid Parade, which marks the official summer opening of the beaches. As the parade moves toward the sea for the opening ceremony, crowds cheer the fancifully dressed participants, and the girl grows more excited, until the final surprise comes: she wins the award for “Best Little Mermaid.” The descriptive first-person narrative is somewhat overlong, but it captures the girl’s anticipation and enjoyment, and vividly conveys the scene, from the “shiny costumes that sparkle and glitter” to the dancing East River Mermaids and the feel of the warm sun. Exuberant, cartoon-style gouache illustrations fill pages with a festive riot of colorful, diverse participants and activities, while a map view follows the parade’s route. Though place- and event-specific, this title offers an affectionate, upbeat depiction of costume fun, parades, and community celebrations. A final page includes a how-to for making a simple mermaid tail, and a note on Mermaid Parade history. Grades K-2. --Shelle Rosenfeld