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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Cover Reveal and Interview: Pearl by Molly Idle

I’ve heard you. I’ve heard you when you slip into bed at night and stare with wide insomniac-laden eyes at the ceiling thinking, thinking, thinking to yourself, “Why hasn’t Molly Idle ever done a mermaid book?”

I hear you, man. I understand where you’re coming from. You figure that since she knocks it out of the park with her Flora books and her Tea Rex titles that it would only be right, real, and natural for her to go the mythical route. For years now you’ve waited patiently.

Well. All that waiting has finally paid off. Yes indeedy, today we celebrate the fact that Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Molly Idle is on the cusp of dazzling us with an original mermaid tale about “how small, persistent actions can achieve great things.”

But first! A word from our sponsor. Which is to say, a plot description from Little, Brown & Co. Context!

“Sometimes the tiniest light can shine the brightestLike the other mermaids of the deep, Pearl longs to care for the endless beaches, coral reefs, and towering kelp forests of her vast ocean world. So when her mother asks her to tend to a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. It takes all her patience and determination to discover how even the littlest mermaid can transform the world.

Caldecott Honor-winning author and artist Molly Idle has masterfully crafted a modern classic in this mesmerizing tale about the immense power of small actions.”

Aaaaaaaand just because I like to keep you waiting (I’ve a streak of cruelty in my molasses-thickened soul that’s a yard long and a mile wide) I had the delightful opportunity to interview Ms. Idle about this, her latest.

Betsy Bird: Mermaids! You know, aside from that famous redhead Disney conjured up (and the Andersen tale she was based upon) there really aren’t that many famous mermaids in the whole of children’s literature. What inspired you to forgo your dancing birds and opt for a story under the sea?

Molly Idle: For years, I went back and forth between wanting to be a marine biologist and an artist, when I grew up.

I have always, always loved the sea, and all of the amazing creatures in it (both real and imagined).

Now, I LOVE making art too, so I feel sure that I made the right career choice. But a while back, I realized that it had been ages since I‘d drawn anything without a deadline attached. Drawing just for the pure joy of making something with my hands. So, I sat down to scribble in a blank sketchbook, and the first thing that I drew was a mermaid. And that was so much fun to make that I drew another, and another, and another…

When I shared those mer-sketches on Instagram, my agent, Steve Malk, saw them and asked me if I thought they could become something more. And the moment he put that question to me, I knew the answer was yes!

What they became was PEARL, a story about the joy of taking something small, like a grain of sand, (or a sketch of a mermaid) and making it into something more.

BB: Were you much of a mermaid-loving child yourself when you were small?

MI: YES! Oh my goodness, yes. I had all sorts of mermaid figurines (Do you remember Sea Wees dolls?) At bath time, all my mermaids came into the tub with me. I’d take one towel and wrap it about my head so that I had long flowing hair, then I’d take another towel and drape it over my legs and feet in the water, for my tail and fins… then under the waves we’d go!

BB: What are you working on next?

MI: A new mermaid tale!

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
*Sees self out*

And now… the moment you’ve all been waiting for. . . give it up for PEARL, everybody!


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you mermaid it up.

Thanks to Molly and the good folks at LB & Co. for the reveal opportunity.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.