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The Secret History of Mermaids and Creatures of the Deep    by Ari Berk, Wayne Anderson & et al order for
Secret History of Mermaids and Creatures of the Deep
by Ari Berk
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

They have been called many names - Nereids, Finfolk, Merrymaids, Blue Men - but whatever name they go by, the merfolks that supposedly inhabit the ocean depths have been a source of gifts as well as disasters for seafarers and those who dwell on the coast.

In this extremely lavish, illustrated book, you'll discover a wealth of material on these underwater (and sometimes above) mythical creatures. The lives, origins, language and magic of these elusive peoples are laid bare as the author delves into the depths to satisfy young readers' (eight years of age and up) curiosity about what happens beneath the surface of the sea.

'As the philosophers say, "Nature rejoices in oddities." Thus, there are many kinds of merfolk. Some closely resemble their human cousins, while others are scaled from head to tail, bearing gills, fins, and other aquatic appendages,' explains the text. 'The appearance of individual merfolk species depends entirely upon the types of local fish alongside whom they have evolved.'

Along with the comprehensive text, the book has a lavish cover with foil, embossing and glittery (plastic) jewels, an elegant blue tassel dangling from the spine and numerous paper novelties within, such as booklets, gatefolds and sundry flaps. What more could a young fantasy, marine biologist desire besides, perhaps, an actual mermaid?

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