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Mermaid Queen : the spectacular true story of Annette Kellerman, who swam her way to fame, fortune, & swimsuit history!
2009
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Author Notes
Shana Corey has the unique ability to make history accessible and fun, a talent that has been praised in all of her celebrated picture books, including MERMAID QUEEN, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham and YOU FORGOT YOUR SKIRT, AMELIA BLOOMER!, illustrated by Chesley McLaren, which was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Title. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.<br> <br> <br> Edwin Fotheringham has illustrated several notable picture books, including Barbara Kerley's WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE?, a Sibert Honor Book and a Boston Globe/Horn Book Award Honor Book, and THE EXTRAORDINARY MARK TWAIN (ACCORDING TO SUSY), a New York Public Library Best Children's Book. Edwin lives in Seattle, Washington. You can visit him online at www.edfotheringham.com.<br>
Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Annette Kellerman (Female), Australian, Swimmer; frail as a child; grew up to become an internationally known record-setting athlete
Genre
NonFiction
Juvenile
Sports
Topics
Swimmers
Actors
Vaudeville
Writers
Setting
- Australia
- United States
Time Period
1887-1975 -- 19th-20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Admirers of Corey (You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!) and of Fotheringham (What to Do About Alice?) will be eager for this picture book biography of another early feminist, the swimmer Annette Kellerman (1886-1975). As a child in Australia, Kellerman had to wear leg braces for some unspecified illness; to strengthen her body, she swam-and grew up to become an endurance swimmer, to invent water ballet and introduce the modern bathing suit to horrified Americans and Europeans (swimming before an audience that included British royalty, Kellerman was made to cover up her bare legs). As in her previous books, Corey includes the details that both humanize Kellerman and make her a legend; for example, trying to cross the English Channel, the swimmer "slurps" soup or hot chocolate through a "long-snouted" cup and eats sandwiches proffered on the end of a long stick. The art is equally powerful: punchy graphics suggest a woman in perpetual motion, with bubble, dot and curve motifs to underscore the aquatic theme. The illustrations are almost too powerful: the high-contrast colors can be dizzying, and the art at times vies with the text for readers' attention. Ages 4-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Kellerman's name might not be familiar, but this rule-breaking, high-diving, early fashionista will inspire students. Her difficulties walking as a child, which are only hinted at in the book's illustrations, drove her father to try to strengthen her legs through swimming lessons. In the early 1900s, before women were allowed to compete in the Olympics, her hard-earned athleticism drew more criticism than compliments. Swimming? Unladylike! Record setting? For the boys! Eager to do something more artistic with her abilities, Annette invented water ballet, and her acrobatic feats drew crowds. Each event described is interesting, but what really shines is Kellerman's persistent refusal to rest on her laurels. After her attempt to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, and performing for kings and queens, she went on to pioneer the modern woman's bathing suit, which led to her arrest in the U.S. Fotheringham's glorious artwork is filled with period details and dress, high-dives and stunts, and priceless expressions on the faces of amazed audiences. The extensive back matter details Kellerman's further accomplishments and includes citations. This well-written and brightly illustrated account is a perfect pearl.-Sarah Provence, Churchill Road Elementary School, McLean, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
As a child growing up in Australia, AnnetteKellerman was a frail ugly duckling who dreamedof becoming a graceful ballerina. With pluck andcourage, she confronted a crippling illness--andcountless naysayers--to become an internationallyknown record-setting athlete who revolutionizedthe sport of swimming for women, a moviestar who invented water ballet, and a fashionrevolutionary who modernized the swimsuit. Wow,thanks, Annette!
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