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Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!
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Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!

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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  352 ratings  ·  87 reviews
A fun, feel-good, "underdog" story about a little-known female athlete whose derring-do transformed girls' sports.

Are you brave enough to make a wave? If you love sports and people who aren't afraid to swim against the tide, Annette Kellerman and her freestyle approach to life will make your heart swell.

With strokes of genius, Shana Corey and Edwin Fotheringham pool their
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Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press
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14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra DeedyThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyThe Curious Garden by Peter  BrownMoonshot by Brian FlocaRed Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman
2010 Caldecott Hopefuls
15th out of 60 books — 154 voters
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert MunschMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansPrincess Smartypants by Babette ColeMiss Rumphius by Barbara CooneyMermaid Queen by Shana Corey
Picture Books with Strong Heroines
5th out of 98 books — 9 voters


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Community Reviews

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Kathryn
I love, love, love this book! It is so much fun, so inspiring, so refreshing and exhilarating--rather like a good swim ;-) Here is the story of Australian-born Annette Kellerman who was "terribly afraid of the water" as a little girl but encouraged to swim to strengthen her weak legs. But, she was brave and persevered and soon began setting records. Later in life, she said, "I learn much from people in the way they meet the unknown in life, and water is a great test... This love of the unknown i ...more
Ann
Mar 15, 2010 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ann by: Kathryn
What an informative, fun story about Annette Kellerman! I didn't know a thing about this woman until I read this book, and what an amazing story. After being nearly unable to walk as a child, Annette was given the prescription to swim. Not only did Annette grow stronger legs, she grew a strong will and the desire to "make waves" :) She championed swimming as a sport and an artistic craft, as well as championing women's athletics and new, lighter swimsuits for women.

The author's note at the back
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Rachel
The book Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey is a biography about “Annette Kellerman who swam her way to fame, fortune, and swimsuit history!” When Annette was young she dreamed of becoming a ballerina but she could barely walk. Her father taught her to swim so that her legs would get stronger. Once she was strong she realized that her swimming was her own form of being a ballerina. She decided to share her art with the world but no one could get over the fact that she was a girl! No one took her serio ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 26, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in swimming, people overcoming adversity, innovators
Well, I wasn’t sure about this one: swimsuit fashion? But I love stories of people overcoming the odds and excelling, and what with watching the Olympics these past two weeks (having been a fan since my teens) I was intrigued by a woman who was a pioneer of women’s swimming.

I thank the Children's Books group for introducing me to this book. It’s one of the book selections for March’s Picture-Book Club; I don’t know that I’d otherwise have ever read this book. I’d never heard of it, and I wasn’t
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Betsy
I'm always fascinated by famous figures from the past that have been largely forgotten by the public memory. It gives me hope when I look at some of the forgettable celebrities floating around today. Once in a while these celebrities of ages past will pop up in biographical films, written biographies, or in a very rare case, in picture book biographies. And when it comes to Annette Kellerman "champion swimmer, risk-taker, and fashion rebel", author Shana Corey says of her, "Few people have heard ...more
Boni
Phenomenal art! This is a gorgeous book. It's well-written, and interesting too (and very Girl Power!), but I felt it could have been a little more thorough in explaining details. When we read it, my kids were left with more questions unanswered than answered. There is an end-note, but it is extensive and some of the detail in it could easily have been woven into the text to make the story clearer overall. Still highly recommended!
Mrs. Tongate
It is the true story of Annette Kellerman who did not have full use of her legs. Her father taught her how to swim which allowed her to use and strengthen her legs. This was a woman who was not afraid of creating waves! Great read-aloud for Women's History Month, Health, or right before Spring Break to honor bathing suit season!

Annette believed swimming was "the best sport in the world for women" and was passinate about its benefits. "An occasional swim does as much good as a six month's vacatio
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Colby Sharp
I'm excited to share this book with my fourth graders tomorrow. Shanna Corey is quickly becoming my favorite picture book biography author.
Syndi Flores
This book is about the life of Annette Kellerman. She was a famous swimmer. This book starts out with her childhood to her adult life. She went out of her way to make a name for herself since women were believe to not participate in sports. Annette went far despite struggling to walk as a child but she got her legs to be stronger. Like other books, the end shares some other facts about her and her accomplishments. The is a very colorful book with bold colors. The text seems to reflect the motion ...more
Nielson
This is an amazing book! The story is absolutely fascinating and the pictures are so bright and vivid and fun! It is the true story of Annette Kellerman who as a young girl did not have full use of her legs. Her father taught her how to swim which enabled her to use and strengthen her legs. She became a master swimmer but was criticized because swimming wasn't artistic enough nor were girl athletes accepted as the norm. That didn't stop Annette though! She and her father traveled to London where ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey

Loved this author and this illustrator's work together on a previous book about Alice Roosevelt. This one was even better. The wonderful text, printed in big and small fonts, with curls and swirls, combined with the fun illustrations makes for a great book.

I'm happy to learn about the life of Annette Kellerman, who began to swim to strengthen her legs weakened by debilitating disease. She loved dancing and was the first to create what came to be known as water ballet
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Christiane
Has anyone ever heard of Annette Kellerman? Back in 1903 when she was a young girl swimmer her mother worried that people would talk, and when she performed before royalty at London's Bath Club there was more concern about her bare legs than her ability in the water. And in Boston she was arrested for her shocking swim attire! But Annette presevered, insisting that swimming was healthful exercise for everyone and that women would be happier and healthier if they were allowed more freedom to be p ...more
Kelly
What a lovely story. The illustrations were absolutely gorgeous! Most interesting to note Annette pioneered and starred in two water movie spectaculars Neptune's Daughter and Daughter of the Gods. Esther Williams portrayed Annette in The Million Dollar Mermaid. So Cool!
Bernice
This story of Annette Kellerman tells of her aspiration to bring swimming to women around the world. Although she faced the challenges from her own family, to those who thought it was wrong for women to be in bathing suits, she overcame those trials and her fame grew as continued to do what she loved; swim. Word spread of Annette and soon everyone was following her lead and marveling over her abilities. On her first trip to the United States she was reprimanded by the police for swimming in the ...more
Tim Vandenberg
Well-researched, joyfully illustrated, lovingly told, this is a fantastic introduction to a little-known, highly-influential female-athlete from the early days of professional sports.

Strongly recommended.
Beverly Kennett
The story of a young girl who could barely walk due to an illness, Annette Kellerman, who was inspired by the graceful dancers she saw in her parents' music school. She learned to swim to strengthen her legs and eventually used her love of the activity to change the world's attitudes about female athletes, the benefits of exercise for women, invent the first version of the modern swimsuit for women, and be credited for inventing the graceful art of Water Ballet. The bright and colorfully illustr ...more
Mrs. Knott
Great biography about Annette Kellerman, the Australian who invented water ballet and the modern swim suit. Loved her feistiness!
Miri
I adored the illustrations in this book! Huge, sweeping waves of color and pattern, and they're just lovely. The story is fantastic, too—the life of Annette Kellerman, the woman who basically broke down stuffy cultural norms that made women cover up in multiple layers and stay on the beach while men went out and enjoyed themselves swimming. When she was young she couldn't walk, and her doctor recommended swimming to strengthen her legs. She'd always admired ballet dancers, so when she learned to ...more
Cynthia
No, I'd never heard of Annette Kellerman before reading this book, but after reading this book multiple times I can say that you should know about her! My four year old fell in love with this book about a young Australian who changed the way the world looked at female athletes and swimwear. This book has it all: beautiful and colorful illustrations, a heroine you like and cheer for, a few pages of suspense, and a great feel-good ending. I like the fact that my boys are learning about a historica ...more
Tanya W
Great book... same illustrator as What About Alice?. We love it because it tells the inspiring story of a girl who followed her dreams and accomplished something noteworthy. I love any book that tells my daughter, you can do almost anything!... this book sends that message. She beat the odds, she didn't worry that not everyone immediately liked her ideas. The book is fabulously illustrated and has interesting typesetting as well.

This is a Beehive Nominee for 2011 (Children's Literature Associati
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Kate
Loved the artwork and the story!
Karina
Mar 15, 2014 Karina added it
Shelves: kids
Women's rights, swimming hero
Sandy Brehl
This biography has the narrative and illustration quality of a fiction offering with the benefit of truth. It's inspiring that Annette's swimming accomplishments overcame her own disability but also the societal restriction and biases toward females, even young ones, at that time. Her ability to push back at the limits she confronted while gaining praise and admiration instead of disdain is captured well. Back matter fills in details of her story and quotations used throughout are documents in t ...more
Allison
Thanks for the recommendation, April--this book is awesome. A true story of a girl against whom the odds were clearly stacked. With a lot of courage and the help of a supportive and very forward thinking father, she was able to overcome them. Annette Kellerman made swimming a women's sport! She also influenced bathing suit styles so that women could and eventually did wear "bathing costumes" that were much more practical than those that had come before. Annette Kellerman was a one woman revoluti ...more
Abby Johnson
Vivid colors splash across the page in this picture book biography of Annette Kellerman, the Australian swimmer who invented water ballet and shocked audiences with her "skimpy" (for the times) bathing suits. Annette's vivacious personality comes across on every page as she becomes a record-breaking swimmer, advocates for female athletes, and designs new non-restrictive bathing suits for women. This is a great story of a woman who was not afraid to follow her dreams or fight for what she believe ...more
Sarah
Another mock caldecott book. I liked this title, it was very simple, yet full of fun and excitement. From a historical perspective I thought it was a little light, glossing over troubles she may have faced. The author does include more detail in the back, and discusses how she came to write about this character from history. I liked that the author mentions how Annette tried things that didn't succeed, but that she just kept trying, but I felt that wasn't emphasized enough in the book.
April
Not many people know of Annette Kellerman, myself included, but she used to be a household name. Her story, depicted here with the spirit and funk that seemed to define Annette, is incredibly inspiring and a lot of fun to read. I also enjoyed the little surprise of reading about her visit to Boston to swim at Revere Beach. I swam and played at that beach countless times as a little girl. The illustrations also capture Annette's personality...bright, colorful, bold and cheerful.
Lindsey
Annette Kellerman was a "champion swimmer, risk-taker, and fashion rebel who invented both water ballet and the modern swimsuit." Fighting against the ideas that women had too many "fragile nerves" to swim or exercise in the early 1900s, Annette challenged female stereotypes in Australia, England, and the United States.

This book also contains a really great "Author's Note" with a picture of Annette posing in one of the swimsuits she created.
Pam
This book will encourage your young daughter to boldly go out into the world and to directly face any challenges she encounters. The story of Annette Kellerman is an interesting one and Shana Corey did a great job writing a fun story. I loved that she included a more serious biography in the back of the book. The colorful and lively illustrations by Edwin Fotheringham are fantastic and bring the story to life. I highly recommend this book!
Christopher
A truly unique story about a truly unique woman, Mermaid Queen tells the story of Annette Kellerman, the first woman to attempt to swim the English Channel among other things. Edwin Fotheringham's illustrations truly bring Annette's story to life. Incorporating bits of the story into the illustrations only makes Shana Corey's wonderfully written book a true gem. It's very refreshing to see a new interesting story. A must for any collection!
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Lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband.
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