Sarah McIntyre – Grumpycorn: introducing… MERMAID!

We’ve had ALL SORTS of visitors to MyBookCorner over the years. But. I believe this may well be the first time we’ve had a Mermaid…and a mermaid with cookies too?Result! Thanks for bringing her over Sarah McIntyre…


I really like drawing mermaids with glasses. People often assume I wanted to be an illustrator when I was little, but when I was about nine, wearing glasses, I really wanted to be a mermaid. I loved swimming underwater – I could do three laps in the pool without coming up for air! – and I loved how underwater it was like a different world that I could visit. And I loved how the ocean seemed to have its own energy and personality, lifting me up when I was wave jumping, or playing a tantalising tidal game of creep-forward-and-withdraw toward my carefully constructed sandcastle.

In my new picture book, Grumpycorn, I had fun imagining how Mermaid might see herself as the hero of a story. The idea of her flying about – still as a mermaid – in a superhero cape and battling a giant Godzilla creature made me laugh.

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I loved designing her home in a half-submerged wreck of a submarine. Readers will be able to spot all the various ingredients Mermaid and Narwhal use to bake cookies. And I love the build-up to Unicorn’s reaction to these ‘inspiring cookies’ – we can kind of tell that he’s playing her, and it will all go badly wrong.

But these cookies… how could anyone not be inspired by these cookies? And check out the patterns the light make on the water – this should be a scene leading up to Unicorn’s wonderful Moment of Genius, right?

Actually, cookies are a common thing that turn up when I’m having a bit of a hard time with something I’m working on. (Breakfast cereal, too.) These don’t really help – but they are tasty all the same! I could easily sit and eat cookies all day instead of write stories and draw pictures. So could Unicorn.

Oh dear. Mermaid has been colossally played by Unicorn. Will their friendship ever recover from this massive slight?

Yes, but Unicorn has to learn his lesson first, feeling sad and left out for awhile until he can visit Mermaid’s home and apologise. I loved painting this last scene where all the friends are gathered together in a cosy circle of light, reflecting onto the water with the moon and the stars. Below, the little sea horses are looking on, and there will be one more scene in this book where we see this story has gripped more than just the four main characters.

I create story-related activities for all my books and Grumpycorn is no exception! Visit my website to download this How-to-Draw-Mermaid sheet and discover many more fun things to draw and colour! 

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