“Nice weather for ducks”, I said watching the rain pour down outside.
“Or mermaids“, piped up my daughter, “they don’t mind getting wet”.
Good point, I thought and stopped thinking about the weather to think about mermaids instead. Are they real? Has anyone ever seen one? Just think how amazing it would feel to breathe and swim underwater like a fish, exploring beneath the waves and swimming with dolphins.
Now as Chief Denner at Our Reading Den thinking about mermaids was only ever going to end one way – in looking at stories about mermaids, and one particular story that grabbed my attention is set in Cornwall, Great Britain.
In the village church in Zennor, there is a famous “mermaid bench” thought to be over 600 years old, which has a mermaid carved into it’s wood. This carving is thought to be connected to a local legend about a mermaid who used to come to the church to hear the singing. One day she heard a local man, Matthew Trewhella, sing and was entranced. When he, in turn, laid eyes on the intriguing lady sitting at the back of the church it was love at first sight. As the lady hurried back to the sea Matthew discovered she was a mermaid and dived into the sea so they could live together in her underwater world. On summer nights some locals say you can still hear them singing together.
After reading the intriguing tale of the Zennor mermaid I decided to explore some more modern mermaid stories. Please find below a few of the books I discovered.
If you have read some other mermaid tales that you have enjoyed please write a review and share them with us.
Magical Mermaid books to read
Stories of Mermaids by Russell Punter
Three original mermaid tales for children who are just beginning to learn how to read. Meet a scheming mermaid lurking to sabotage the Great Seahorse Race, a mermaid on a journey to the spooky Pirates’ Graveyard and a mermaid who just loves to dance!
Mermaid Magic by Gwyneth Rees
Down in the watery blue depths of the ocean is Tingle Reef – home to young mermaid Rani and a whole host of fishy friends! It’s an underwater world of magic and mystery – where Rani’s adventures are about to begin…
Rani has always known that she’s different from the rest of her family. Her flowing red hair and glowing amber eyes stand out from the other mermaids, who have golden hair and eyes like the sea. But Rani’s about to find out that she’s more different than she realised – she’s got magic powers!
Thora: A Half-Mermaid Tale by Gillian Johnson
Thora is no ordinary girl. She has purple scales on her legs and a blow hole that squirts water out of the top of her head. Thora is a half mermaid and as mermaid law commands, she must ‘live between worlds.’ Book 1 finds Thora moving to the sea-side town of Grimli where she discovers that life on land comes with its own challenges, in this case, a greedy property developer named Frooty de Mare. She might be half-mermaid but Thora has two (webbed) feet firmly on the ground. A fun, fantastical tale about a ten-year old girl finding her place in the world.
Bad Mermaids (Bad Mermaids 1) by Sibeal Pounder
Mermaids Beattie, Mimi and Zelda are enjoying a summer on land with legs when they receive a strange CRABAGRAM ordering them to return home at once. Some seriously BAD MERMAIDS are on the loose and the girls are the only ones who can stop them.
If they’re going to save the day, they’ll need answers. And a clam car. Definitely piranha-print nail polish. Possibly not the talking seahorse.
CAN THEY DO IT?
Filled with magical mysteries, fabulous fashion, and a serious piranha problem, Bad Mermaids brings a whole new twist to the underwater world of mermaids
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Emily Windsnap lives on a boat, but her mother has always been oddly anxious to keep her out of the water. It is only when Emily has her first school swimming lesson that she discovers why: as soon as she gets into the water, she grows a tail!
Soon Emily discovers a glorious underwater world of fishes, coral, shipwrecks and mermaids, and, best of all, she finds a best friend! With mermaid Shona Silkfin by her side, Emily uncovers a surprising family secret and embarks on a quest to reunite her mum and dad.
This enchanting fantasy deals with universal themes of family, friendship, love and justice – all handled with the lightness of touch for which Liz Kessler is so well known.
Ingo by Helen Dunmore
Once there was a man who fell in love with a mermaid. He swam down into the sea to be with her, and was never seen again…
Sapphire’s father told her that story when she was little. When he is lost at sea she can’t help but think of that old myth: she’s convinced he’s still alive.
Then, the following summer, Sapphy meets Faro, an enigmatic and intriguing Mer boy. Diving down into Ingo, she discovers a world she never knew existed, where she must let go of all her Air thoughts and embrace the sea…
But not only is Sapphy intoxicated by the Mer world, she longs to see her father once more. And she’s sure she can hear him singing across the water:
“I wish I was away in Ingo
Far across the briny sea…”