by Molly Idle (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Molly Idle offers a stunningly illustrated environmental tale featuring three very different mermaid friends who learn to coexist, in a companion to her acclaimed story Pearl.

Coral, Filly, and Manta live on a sunlit reef teeming with sea life. When Coral comes upon an empty hollow at the heart of the reef and tries to keep it as her very own, Filly and Manta are banished. All that grows in the wake of her anger is regret, and Coral must find a way to turn the tide...but she can't do it alone. Caldecott Honor-winning author and artist Molly Idle has brilliantly illustrated a tale both timeless and timely, about the power of collaboration and the profound importance of caring for our environment...and one another.

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Kirkus Reviews

During the quarrel, both color and background fade away. Coral goes white with anger, reflecting the color of a distressed reef, before her color returns as they reconcile. Words and pictures also cooperate to deliver a gentle but important lesson. 


An appealing variety of perspectives are used to create the charming margin-to-margin pictures. This gentle tale's morals of caring for our friends and working together to take responsibility for our environment are important messages for young children.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1--In this companion to Pearl, Idle tells the tale of three mermaids--Coral, who creates the reef; Filly, who looks after the fish in the reef; and Manta, who raises the sharks and rays that eat the reef fish, keeping it in balance. The three live in harmony, each doing their part to keep the reef healthy, until one day Coral finds an empty hollow in the reef and decides that she wants to be alone and keep it to herself. When her friends find her there, in a flash of anger, she banishes them from her empty spot on the reef. Amid a now colorless, lifeless reef, Coral realizes her mistake and she sets out to make it right. A full-page spread with Coral on one side shows her reaching out to her friends on the opposite side. She tells them she can't make it a home without them. The three then restore life--and color--back to the reef, making it their home again. The colorful illustrations are reminiscent of an animated, kid-friendly short film and will appeal to young readers. VERDICT A vibrant offering with an environmentally friendly message about collaboration and the interconnectedness that exists in nature and life in order to maintain an essential balance and optimal results. Fans of the first installment will be thrilled with this follow-up.--Megan Kilgallen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Molly Idle
Molly Idle's work as an author-illustrator includes the Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo, Flora and the Penguin, Flora and the Peacocks, Flora and the Chicks, Flora and the Ostrich, and Tea Rex, Camp Rex, Sea Rex, and Santa Rex, among other books, including Pearl, an original fable about a mermaid who learns the power of one small act. She lives with her family in Arizona, and invites you to visit her at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
May 20, 2020
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV029010 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | Environment
JUV002170 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Marine Life
JUV066000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mermaids
Library of Congress categories
Coral reefs and islands
Animals, Mythical

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