Friday 2 July 2021

Mertales: The Best Friend Promise

Mertales: The Best Friend Promise by Rebecca Timmis (Albert Street Books) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN9781760526528

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

This is book one in a new adventure series set underwater. Packed with illustrations, the story is about Pearl Periwinkle the mermaid who is celebrating her ninth birthday. She plans to spend time with her best friends, but when she takes a shortcut on the way to merschool, things begin to drift off. When Pearl sees a shooting star fall into the ocean, everything changes. Her mermaid tail shimmers, and sparkles, and she can now talk to animals. This is the start of an adventure in Cockleshell Cover.

A hungry reef dragon enters the cover waters and presents a danger to Pearl’s friends. The question is -- will her new magical powers be enough to save her friends?

As the market for this series is primarily for girls, the chapter book (with chapter names as well as numbers) has pink and white pages and pink, grey, and black illustrations. The pink is in various grades and there are words in the text (such as ‘Brainiac’, ‘Smarty-fins’ and ‘flipper-riffic’) which are highlighted. When Pearl’s best friend Coral enters the story, the words ‘smart’, ‘funny’ and ‘a little bit boss’ are used as labels for her. The illustrations are highly imaginative: you see underwater houses made of seashells, and ‘roads’ along which are a line of shell-houses.

At the end of the book there are some ‘Fin Facts’ such as dolphin babies drink milk like human babies and some sea animals, such as squids and cuttlefish, squirt ink when threatened. Also, amazingly, an octopus the size of a pony, can squeeze through a hole no bigger than a fifty-cent coin.

The second mermazing adventure is The Daring Reef Rescue.

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