Thursday, April 16, 2020

Review - Mabel: A Mermaid Fable

Mabel: A Mermaid Fable
by Rowboat Watkins
Date: 2020
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Mabel isn't like the other mermaids. Lucky isn't like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn't about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

It's official: Rowboat Watkins' books just aren't for me. Am I missing something? I always feel like I am. I don't find his work particularly funny or interesting. Often, it just seems like an absurd concept taken to an illogical conclusion.

In this case, we have Mabel, a mermaid who's embarrassed because she doesn't have a moustache. (All mermaids have moustaches, apparently. Even the babies.) So she spends a lot of time wearing fake ones and hiding out in various caves to get away from the creatures who call her a nudibranch. She meets a seven-legged octopus, and they become friends. Then she finds out what a nudibranch is, and the book ends.

I. Don't. Get. It.

Sure, Mabel makes a friend. Sure, Lucky realizes that he can do pretty much anything, even with only seven legs. But the resolution--when Mabel realizes that everything she ever needed was right under her nose--is too vague to be meaningful. She finds out that nudibranchs are sea slugs, and this suddenly makes her lack of moustache okay. I'm afraid I'm not following that line of thought.

Kids might like the absurdity of moustachioed mermaids, but I'm not a fan. The pictures are cute. They don't really make up for the rest of the nonsense, though.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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