Rónán and the Mermaid

In Rónán and the Mermaid, a young boy is washed ashore on the eastern coast of Ireland and is found by a monk. The boy recovers and describes to the monks his rescue by a beautiful, golden haired mermaid. The monks recall a legend of an Irish princess, Liban, who was turned into a mermaid three hundred years before after her home was flooded. As the boy grows up, he develops an affinity for music and is always trying to remember the haunting tune he heard the night of his rescue. One morning, Rónán goes fishing and encounters Liban. The mermaid entreats Rónán to bring her to the abbey so that she can be blessed by the abbot. Rónán agrees and the abbot christens the mermaid Muirgen. Muirgen becomes St. Murigen and is known until today as the mermaid saint.

I really enjoyed this story and appreciated the happy ending (of sorts). The author, Marianne McShane, is a storyteller, which is reflective in her prose. This is a book that definitely deserves to be read aloud. I also appreciated the depth of the text used to tell this story. It would have been impossible to write using the word count constraint used by many publishers. Thank you, Candlewick Press! The illustrations by Jordi Solano use a muted palette which perfectly depicts the Irish seacoast.

If you are looking for an addition to your collection of mermaid stories and legends, this is definitely one to add to your library.