A New Friend (Mermaid Days #3)

by Kyle Lukoff (Author) Kat Uno (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
Series: Mermaid Days

Vera and Beaker make a new friend when they meet a mantis shrimp, in this series perfect for beginning readers!

Swim along with mermaid Vera and octo-kid Beaker! In these three stories, Vera and Beaker make a new friend with a powerful baby mantis shrimp. Together, they explore the town of Tidal Grove. Then they play fun underwater games! Young readers will love discovering Vera and Beaker's funny adventures and learning nonfiction information about mantis shrimp. Did you know that mantis shrimp are small but very powerful? They can punch the water to create shockwaves!

With text from National Book Award finalist Kyle Lukoff, and bright, colorful artwork from artist Kat Uno, Mermaid Days is sure to be every young reader's favorite new series. Balancing easy-to-read text, endless humor and charm, light nonfiction, and a loveable cast of underwater creatures, these laugh-out-loud stories are the perfect fit for new readers!

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School Library Journal

In this third installment of the "Mermaid Days" series, friends Vera and Beaker explore their world, help their neighbors, and learn science along the way. When their neighborhood has some unusual damage, they follow the clues to discover the culprit—a baby mantis shrimp! Lost and afraid, the mantis shrimp has been using its true-to-life power of creating shock waves by "punching" water and is accidentally leaving a wake of damage. Vera and Beaker learn about this power when it saves them from an oncoming shark. Now fast friends, the trio follows more clues to get the shrimp home and safe with its family. In a final adventure, they discover a box full of toys. They try to play together, but Baby Mantis Shrimp's punching powers are too much—until they find just the right toy they can all play with together. While the narrative is easy to follow and the text is appropriate for children beginning to read independently, there are holes in the science. Mantis shrimp don't live in sunken ships, nor is their "punching" power enough to break holes in things like mailboxes or library book drops. The digital illustrations don't shine, and the expressions of the characters don't always align with accompanying text, making it harder for readers to use pictures for context in decoding words. The book includes a character list, a page of approachable science, and instructions for drawing one of the characters. VERDICT Doesn't pack a punch. Not recommended for purchase.—Kate Davis

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Kyle Lukoff
Kyle Lukoff is the author of many books for young readers. His debut middle-grade novel, Too Bright To See, received a Newbery honor, the Stonewall award, and was a National Book Award finalist. His picture book When Aidan Became A Brother also won the Stonewall. He has forthcoming books about mermaids, babies, apologies, and lots of other topics. While becoming a writer he worked as a bookseller for ten years, and then nine more years as a school librarian.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Scholastic Inc.
Publication date
February 07, 2023
Mermaid Days
BISAC categories
JUV008000 - Juvenile Fiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | General
JUV043000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Beginner
JUV066000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mermaids
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Marine animals
JUVENILE FICTION / Readers / Beginner
JUVENILE FICTION / Mermaids & Mermen

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