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An Irish storyteller revisits the little-known legend of the Mermaid Saint in a haunting, beautifully illustrated tale of kindness, music, and longing.
Long ago, on the eastern coast of Ireland, a monk from the Abbey of Bangor was collecting driftwood along the wave-tossed shore when he found a boy washed up amid a circle of seals. At first the boy, wrapped in a shawl of woven seagrass, could barely move or speak. But when he regained his strength, he recalled being brought ashore by a lady with long golden hair who sang him to safety and gave him a silver ring. The monks knew the legend of a mermaid who had wandered the coast for three hundred years. Could it possibly have been her? Inspired by a story told in medieval chronicles of Irish history about a wondrous happening in the year 558, debut author Marianne McShane weaves a captivating tale, while Jordi Solano captures the legend’s spare but welcoming abbey on the rocky shore — a setting that makes you believe that if you listen hard enough, you too can hear the mermaid’s song.
About the Author
Marianne McShane is a retired librarian and a seanchaí, a traditional Irish storyteller. She grew up on the east coast of Ireland and especially loves to tell folktales and fairy tales from her native land. Rónán and the Mermaid: A Tale of Old Ireland is her first book for children. She lives in Ireland, on the same shore where this story took place.
Jordi Solano is the illustrator of Beyond the Sixth Extinction by Shawn Sheehy and Swimming with Sharks by Heather Lang. He lives in Spain.
The painterly illustrations, with their natural browns, greens, and blues, are somber but fit well with the traditional tone of the story...With this ode to music and mermaids, McShane deftly uses old stories to create a lyrical, satisfying new one.