The Latest "Third Grade Mermaid" | March 2018 Xpress Reviews

Cora the third-grade mermaid is back in this chapter book installment.

Raymundo, Peter. Third Grade Mermaid and the Narwhals. illus. by Peter Raymundo. 208p. Scholastic. Feb. 2018. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780545940344.

Gr 1-3 –Cora the third-grade mermaid is back in this installment as a budding writer with hopes of winning a contest that would put her on the cover of Splashy! Magazine. When her frenemy Shimmermore’s tattling backfires, their teacher discovers Cora’s emerging talent as a writer and encourages her to enter a contest. Since she’s instructed to write about the greatest thing she’s ever done, Cora plans an adventure to prove to Shimmermore that narwhals are real creatures. Sandy, her talkative mermaid friend; Larry, an intelligent sea cucumber with glasses; Jimmy the jellyfish; and pet shrimp Salty accompany and encourage Cora on her quest. Short chapters in diary form with plenty of illustrations, word bubbles, and simple text will appeal to early independent and reluctant readers. As Cora and her friends bounce around the ocean, they encounter lion’s mane jellyfish, sea pigs, and bluefin tuna. The story line is intermittently peppered with platitudes, clichés, and facts about narwhals. VERDICT Though the plot is meandering and some situations are contrived, Cora’s quirky voice and the story’s random silliness will find its audience with emerging readers.–Jamie Jensen, Wayne Cox Elementary School, Roanoke, TX

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