Harmony & Echo: The Mermaid Ballet

Random House Studio. May 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984830425.
PreS-Gr 3–Harmony and Echo are best friends and mermaids who enjoy a variety of similar interests but are also markedly different. For instance, while Harmony is happy-go-lucky and relaxed, Echo is frequently a bundle of nerves. These anxious feelings are even more apparent the day of their ballet performance, when Echo shares her fears that she will forget the dance as soon as she swims on stage. Harmony consoles her friend, squeezing her hand as a reminder of her presence and support, as well as emphasizing their many hours of rehearsal and even offering to go through the dance together. When it’s finally time to perform, Echo joins her best friend on stage and begins to dance without even having a chance to worry. They celebrate their successful recital with ice cream and a hand-squeeze promise to always be there for each other. Barrager’s text reads smoothly and endearingly, making this an excellent choice for group sharing. The watercolor and digital illustrations capture a magical underwater world, brimming with life. Harmony and Echo both have brown skin, while the other mermaids in the dance company are diverse in skin tone. Pair with Molly Idle’s Pearl, Kate Pugsley’s Mermaid Dreams, or Kelly DiPucchio’s books about Oona for even more mer-fun.
VERDICT Barrager’s sweet and supportive tale will charm and delight readers and is recommended for purchase.

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