The Secret Lives of Mermaids
Prof Anuk Tola
Flying Eye Books, 2020
34pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99
At the School of Merology (SoM), Professor Anuk Tola (aka Anja Sušanj has been studying the lives, habits and habitats of merpeople for many years in an attempt to be able to communicate with them and those studies have revealed that
- The word “mermaid” is a misnomer because there is more than just one gender, their societies are large and varied, and each is a unique individual
- Merpeople are “a highly complex, curious, social, fierce, intelligent and incredibly secretive” species and what little is known has taken hundreds of years to glean
- Because the ocean is changing so are the merpeople and they and the merologists (those who study merpeople) have to find new ways to work together.
In the meantime, she has gathered all that is currently known into this highly informative book, a companion to The Secret Lives of Dragons and The Secret Lives of Unicorns. Beginning with a section entitled “What is a merperson?” the reader is introduced to the species, visits the various kingdoms in the world’s oceans and learns about their beliefs, language and so forth. But perhaps the most important section is the final one which examines how and why the oceans are changing , how that is affecting them and what we, as humans, can do to protect both them and their environment.
Mermaids (and unicorns) continue to be a source of fascination for many, particularly young girls, and this is a really imaginative way to introduce them to the concept of ocean conservation as well as non fiction generally, . To build a complete world in this way, albeit one based on a fantasy, is a clever way to make the reader stop and think about what might live between the waves and pause before they chuck their plastic bag in the water or let their balloons go into the sky. Somehow it gives a whole new slant on this year’s CBCA Book week theme, “Dreaming with eyes open…”
In the meantime, put March 29 aside to celebrate International Mermaid Day!