Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Fantastic Fiction for Kids – Mermaids

Posted on | April 7, 2010 | 8 Comments

fantastic_fiction_buttonWelcome to this week’s Fantastic Fiction for Kids, which today is brought to us courtesy of Cathy James of NurtureStore. Cathy is a mother of two girls aged 3 and 7, and her blog is utterly wonderful – dedicated to giving children the best start in life by nurturing them through play. The blog is full of crafts, activities and ideas you can use at home – all tried, tested and approved by her own kids. Although I’ve failed miserably so far to sow our own sunflowers with the girls, I particularly like Cathy’s Sunflower Club and am determined to become a member soon – especially has we had such fun last year!

Cathy’s chosen the theme of Mermaids for today’s Fantastic Fiction for Kids post. So without further ado I hand you over to her:

Can You Catch a Mermaid? By Jane Ray


Jane Ray is a favourite in our house as both her language and illustrations are simply beautiful. This story tells the tale of a lonely little girl called Eliza, who lives by the sea with her father. Dad is a fisherman and everyday he asks Eliza what kind of fish she would like him to bring her for tea, but all she wants is a mermaid. One day she meets a girl called Freya on the beach and the two become best friends. Eliza slowly realises who Freya really is and this leads her to face a decision with repercussions for the two friends. This is a very special tale which allows children to think about what true friendship means.
The Tiniest Mermaid by Laura Garnham


In this book Lily rescues a tiny mermaid called Delphi, who has been hurt in a storm. Delphi stays in the fish tank in Lily’s bedroom until she gets better and then the two friends head off for an adventure under the sea. This is a great read before a trip to the beach, as it will inspire young readers to go hunting through rockpools to see if they can find a mermaid of their own.
Neptune the Magic Sea Pony by Sophie Tilley and Sarah Kilbride


This is my 3-year old’s favourite bedtime story and is one of the ‘Princess Evie’ series. In this volume Princess Evie sets off for a magical adventure with her pony Neptune and ends up under the sea helping a mermaid search for a pink pearl. After meeting an assortment of sea creatures, all ends happily and they arrive at the Mermaid Queen’s Parade just in time. There is an added treat with this book as it comes with a toy pony, which you can pop out of the back of the book and play with to create adventures of your own.

If Mum and Me Were Mermaids by Pauline Stewart and Miriam Latimer


This is a lively, rhyming tale where a little girl imagines what life would be like if she and her mum really were mermaids. It’s a good story to spark off some imaginary play, where your children can dress up and live the life of a mermaid too.

Cathy adds:


If your children are captured by the idea of mermaids nothing beats a trip to the seaside where you can explore rock pools and find pebbles and shells to play with back at home. (If you’re not near the sea, we’ve found our local fishmonger is a great source of empty shells too.)


A lovely way to make some under the sea art is by using waterpaints (watercolours) combined with wax crayons. Use a large piece of paper so you have lots of room and use your wax crayons to draw a mermaid land deep below the waves. When your drawing is finished you can use the water paints to add the sea. We mixed together blues and greens to make a shade we liked and then, using a wide paint brush, we washed the waterpaint right over the top of our drawing.

The wax crayons resist the waterpaint giving you a beautiful effect. Once it’s dry you could use it as a backdrop, add some real pebbles and shells, and enjoy some small-world pretend play.

In additions to Cathy’s great suggestion for an undersea mermaid picture here are some more mermaid crafts you could try:

  • Kristine’s tutorial on how to make a mermaid costume, at her blog Bilbified.
  • Older children might like to make their own versions of this 3-D mermaid.
  • You could use these mermaid and seahorse patterns with beads or even cross stitch.


  • And of course, you’ll need some mermaid music to dance and swim around to so here are some suggestions from music we’ve enjoyed:

  • Mermaid by The Imagined Village
  • The foresaken mermaid sung by Norma Waterson
  • The Mermaid by Dan Zanes
  • The Mermaid by David Jones & Bill Shute


  • A big thank you to Cathy for such a great post. I know her book selection will come in useful here in a couple of week’s time – it’s nearly J’s birthday and a little birdie told me she is getting some mermaid-y presents…. Please let us know your favourite mermaid books, stories and crafts and do pop over to Cathy’s NurtureStore and say hi!

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    Comments

    8 Responses to “Fantastic Fiction for Kids – Mermaids”

    1. Michael Esordi
      April 7th, 2010 @ 5:29 am

      The watercolor/wax project is a great thing to do with kids. If anyone tries this please share the art at http://believeittour.com a project I started aimed to explore life like you did as a child. Mermaids are one of our popular topics.

      Thanks for the fun art ideas.

    2. Ramona Davey
      April 7th, 2010 @ 7:50 am

      What a good idea, using large decorating brushes to do the wash of blue paint for the sea! My children have painted over wax crayons before but not using large brushes like that, thanks for that, Ramona.

    3. Cathy at NurtureStore
      April 7th, 2010 @ 9:42 am

      Hi Zoe, It’s lovely to be sharing your blog with you today. Big is delighted to see her painting on your site and they’re both currently dancing round the kitchen to your music selection!

    4. Christianne @ Little Page Turners
      April 7th, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

      We are big fans of mermaids – they are the symbol of our city! We celebrated my oldest’s fourth birthday with a mermaid tea and I made her a mermaid tail towel as a gift. “Mermaid’s Bracelet” by Beth Harwood is one of her favorite books. Thank you for these new mermaid book selections!

      http://littlepageturners.blogspot.com/search/label/mermaids

    5. Maggy, Red Ted Art
      April 7th, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

      Fabulous! That takes me right back to art in Kindergarden (!!!!). V pleased to see it again and be reminded of this FABULOUS technique. We will have to give it a go!!
      Did our book project this week too – made stars for Pip Squeak’s room…

      Maggy

    6. Zoe
      April 7th, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

      Ramona – Wonderful to have your first comment here on Playing by the book – thanks so much.

      Cathy – it’s *great* to have you here!

      Thanks Christianne for the book suggestion – and your towel tail is fantastic!

      Maggy – your stars are beautiful. We all need some stars to gaze at I think :-)

    7. Natalie
      April 7th, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

      What a fun contribution. We haven’t read many stories about mermaids outside of Dora (and we haven’t watched The Little Mermaid, since I deemed it too scary). It’s good to know where to get started.

    8. Sarah N.
      April 9th, 2010 @ 2:24 am

      My 3yo is all about mermaids right now. She would love these books, especially the Princess Evie one. The sea paintings look lovely. I might try them with our art group next week.

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