Mermaids have had a real surge of popularity recently but most titles have been for younger readers or overly sugary and sweet. ‘The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth’ is definitely neither of those things…
Minnow had always known she was different from the other children in her town – her powerful affinity with the water, her silver teeth, the pale scars on her neck and the fact that she lives about a pirate ship with her mother, Mercy.
However, when her mother is visited by three mysterious men in the dead of night and taken from their ship, Minnow has no choice but to follow the final instruction Mercy gave her, to: ‘sail to Reykjavik to find your grandmother, she will keep you safe.’ Determined but afraid, Minnow sets her course and draws on the knowledge of the ocean which lies buried within her soul.
What awaits her are tales of the legendary Wild Deep, family secrets and surprising friendships.
This book drew me into its watery pages and carried me along on the current of the magical story. I loved this grittier-than-I-was-expecting take on a mermaid story. The modern urban setting at the start, coupled with mystical Icelandic folklore and the legendary underwater world of the Wild Deep kept me enchanted until the very end.
In this story, mermaids do not conform to the beautiful fair-skinned maidens stereotype perpetrated in other books, in ‘The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth,’ they are powerful, beautiful but also dangerous. I know that Cerrie Burnell was keen to create a world where the characters reflected the dual heritage of her own young daughter and where families like her own were positively represented in a magical context. I think this is deftly incorporated in Minnow’s own struggles to find out more about her mysterious heritage and come to terms with what she discovers.
A magical and thrilling story which would be perfect for readers aged 9+
*Thank you to Oxford University Press for sending me this title to review*
One thought on “Festive Read #3 ‘The Girl With The Shark’s Teeth,’ by Cerrie Burnell, illustrations by Sandra Dieckmann.”
This sounds like it will have lots of appeal. I think you touch on a good point about overly sweet books for younger readers, and I hope that writers will steer away from them.
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