Riding the subway, on the way home with his grandma, Julian sees three women dressed most marvellously as mermaids, and is filled with excitement. He can’t wait to get home to create his own fishtail dress and colourful headdress. But what will his grandma make of his transformation?
Beautifully illustrated with vibrant watercolour paintings, this tender and groundbreaking picture book, shares Julian’s delight and imagination with gentle humour and celebrates individuality and difference through acceptance, joy and love.
Share the story
Read the story aloud, pausing to talk about the illustrations and responding to any questions your child might ask.
Encourage children to join in with reading parts of the text when rereading the story.
Talk about the story
Talk together about Julian’s feelings as the story progresses. How does his grandma respond?
Invite children to talk about the pictures and describe what’s happening as Julianm creates his costume.
Things to make and do
Retell the story
Your child could retell the story in their own words using the pictures to help them.
Make a spectacular costume
Gather together different materials, including fabric, bright wrapping paper, ribbons and wool, to make a wonderful outfit. Involve other members of the family and have your own carnival parade. You can video or photograph the result.
Make a book
Talk to your child about what they would love to be able to do or be. They could draw pictures in a little handmade book and write captions saying why they would like to try it. See how to make a small book here.
Make a carnival collage
Using a variety of different materials, including fabric, bright wrapping paper, ribbons, wool and glue, make a wonderful carnival collage. See here for ideas on collage. Look for images and videos of carnivals together to inspire ideas for their picture.
Find out more
Other books about carnivals
Nini at Carnival (Red Fox picture books) Paperback – 6 Jul 1995
by Errol Lloyd (Author, Illustrator)
Other books about mermaids
The Little Mermaid, Lisbeth Zwerger and Anthea Bell
Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Joel Stuart, Walker