The History of a Word 02/07/20
Is it a Mermaid?
Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
As Bel and Benji play on a tropical beach, a friendly dugong joins them. The dugong, also known as a sea cow, insists she is actually a mermaid and shows off what she claims is her elegant tail, graceful swimming technique and melodious song.
Bel, who sees beauty in the dugong’s ungainly efforts to sing and dance, embraces her imaginative and joyful fantasy world. Benji, however, is so determined to prove she is a lumbering grey sea cow, that he inadvertently offends their new friend… But luckily, mermaids are very forgiving.
At the end of the book is some information about these gentle marine mammals, who are vulnerable due to threats from sea vessels and the destruction of their seagrass habitat. Also mentioned is their connection to mermaid mythology, as dugong’s were sometimes mistaken for these mythical creatures by sailors of old.
Colourful, lively illustrations fill each page of this delightful book about friendship, imagination, self-belief and the importance of not judging by appearance.