Missy Mermaid: "Queen of the Sea"
by Jean McCarthy

"They swam together the rest of the day, exploring all the amazing life under the sea."

Muhammad Ali once said that friendship was the most difficult concept to explain. McCarthy illustrates the meaning of friendship, and how integral it is to the human experience, in this charming tale. The story opens up with Missy Mermaid swimming in the ocean during a thunderstorm. As she takes cover, her tail becomes pinned between two rocks. She cries for help, and to her relief, a dolphin named Dino comes to her rescue. They become fast friends thereafter.

McCarthy could have ended the story with a friendship forged from a hardship. Instead, she decides to explore the complexity of other relationships that are impacted by new ones formed. Children oftentimes foster resentment and other types of negativity when a long-time friend suddenly decides to share their time and attention with a new friend. These emotions can either destroy or hurt the relationship between existing friends (and harm potential new bonds that can form between children). The author explores this through another character in the story, Tito, who was Dino’s best friend before Missy. Through beautiful and colorfully rendered illustrations, McCarthy artfully captures the issue and teaches children how to deal with those emotions in a constructive way. In this case, the story depicts how new friendships can be created, and that such a change can be healthy for all.

While it can be a little difficult to understand when a character is talking, since there are no quotation marks to distinguish the conversations, it does not take away from the overall impact of the author’s uplifting message. This book will appeal to parents who desire for their children to learn about relationships through a story of adventure.

Return to USR Home