The Legend of Sea Glass by Trinka Hakes Noble is a watery, colorful picture book about the mysteries of the deep blue (and sometimes green) sea and one of the legends that sprang forth from it.
The book opens to an explanation of why men did not venture across the seas: namely because everyone thought the earth was flat and they could fall off it at any moment. While mankind squabbled about the shape of the earth, mysterious creatures frolicked with seals, otters, and dolphins deep on the ocean floor. These creatures were, of course, mermaids: “maidens of the sea [who] had splendid flowing tails and long graceful hair that swayed like seaweed in the ocean’s currents.”
When men discovered that the world was round, they quickly set out on watery adventures. Some were caught in storms that destroyed their ships and placed their lives in danger, and when this happened the thrifty mermaids rushed to their rescue. Unfortunately, the mermaids couldn’t save every single man, and whenever one was lost they shed many tears that ultimately turned to glass on the ocean floor.
Written for grades 1-4 and ages 6-9, this is an interesting little adventure book that conjures memories of the “legend” books of yester-year. Although Ms. Noble’s prose is both creative and age-appropriate, it is wordy enough to be daunting for emerging readers. But this is a minor quibble, especially since artist Doris Ettlinger’s lovely illustrations are vibrant with sea colors and sea creatures that bring the book to life.
Great for group or independent reading, or for those who are big fans of all types of myths and legends.