Buy This Book
Other books you may enjoy

Real-life pirates, such as Blackbeard, reported seeing mermaids on his travels. He and other pirates avoided certain waters where mermaids were supposed to live. Mermaid Myths

Mermaid Myths

Myths Across the Map

by Cynthia O’Brien
AR Test

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
Number of Pages

Are mermaids compassionate beings waiting to save drowning sailors, or vindictive creatures hoping to lure people to their deaths? The answer depends on the lore, which is vast and varied. Throughout the centuries, people around the world have reported seeing mermaids on rocks or bobbing in the sea. Even in the 21st century, people are drawn to the mystery of the mermaids and the folklore surrounding them. 

Mermaid Myths takes a swim through the mythical mermaid world looking at different legends. Readers will find the many mermaid stories and hoaxes in this engaging book entertaining as well as educational. They will learn how different cultures view mermaids and will be surprised at the similarities in the different myths. This exploration of mermaid folklore opens a unique and entertaining window into studies of world culture. 

Many mermaid myths tell of the doomed love between human and mermaid. However, there are many more legends about the deceptive power of mermaids, who sing to men causing their deaths, or lure humans into water to drown. In addition, several mermaid tales explain how a mermaid once turned into a goddess. Despite the repetitious nature of the legends, readers are sure to find new and fascinating information in each. 

The book is both interesting and visually appealing. Each page has large illustrations that include short captions. Each section is broken into smaller snippets based on the country the myth originated from. Another appealing aspect of the story is the fun facts that appear in a graphic that looks like a scroll. Throughout the book, readers will encounter bolded words that may be unfamiliar. However, the words are defined within the text, making the passage easy to understand. 

Mermaid Myths is the perfect book to learn about the history behind mermaid legends. While none of the myths are covered in detail, the book will spark readers’ curiosity and give them different topics they may want to research further. Readers will be surprised to learn how mermaid mythology still fascinates people today and some women are actually professional mermaids! If you love The Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stronger Tides, or even Mako Mermaid, then Mermaid Myths is a must-read. Those interested in learning more factual information about myths should also read the other Myths Across the Map books.  

Sexual Content 

  • None


  • Sirens are “half woman and half bird, and are very dangerous. . .Their singing tricks humans who hear them into thinking the sirens are beautiful. Passing sailors are so enchanted that they sail into the island and crash against the rocks.” 
  • Iara is a malevolent goddess found around the Amazon River. She is known for causing drownings and other accidents. “Her jealous brothers try to kill her. Instead, Iara kills the two men.”  
  • In Japan, legends warn sailors about catching a ningyo. “If the net entangles a ningyo, her distress can cause a tsunami.” 
  • A fisherman caught a ningyo and prepared it “as he would any other fish food. . . It was so good that [his daughter] eats all of it.” She lived for 800 years, “sadly wandering from place to place.” 
  • The goddess Atargatis falls in love and marries a human man, whom she accidentally kills. “Filled with grief, Atargatis throws herself into the sea. The gods see this and do not let her die. They change Atargatis into a mermaid and make her a goddess of the sea.” 
  • A man found a mermaid in his wine cellar. “Frightened, the man shot the mermaid. As she died, the mermaid cursed the man and his family. She said he would never have a son. The curse appeared to come true as the man had seven daughters.” 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 


  • None 


  • The book explores different powers that myths and legends report mermaids to have. For example, “Mermaids have the power to control many things. Some use these powers for good. Others, however, use them to bring death or bad luck to humans.” 
  • Mermaids can “cast a spell by singing or by staring at a human. In this way, mermaids lure people into the water to drown.”  
  • “If a mermaid kisses a human, that person can then breathe underwater.” 
  • Naiads and nereids are freshwater nymphs. “As kind and generous goddesses, the nereids are friendly with sea creatures . . . they also protect sailors and fisherman, and rescue those in trouble.” 
  • According to Haitian mythology, La Sirene can “cause violent storms when she is angry. . . If La Sirene takes people under the sea, she keeps them there for seven years. During that time, the mermaid queen teaches her captive humans magic.” 
  • In German mythology, nixes are shapeshifters. “On land, a nixie can turn herself into many things. She might be an old woman, a horse, a snake, or another animal.” 
  • The Inuit people have a myth about Sedna, the water goddess. She married a man who then turned into a bird. “Sedna was very unhappy, and her father came to rescue her. As they made their escape, a storm brewed.” Sedna fell into the water and died. “From then on, Sedna became the goddess of the sea. All the creatures of the sea were born from her body.”  

Spiritual Content 

  • None 
Other books you may enjoy

Real-life pirates, such as Blackbeard, reported seeing mermaids on his travels. He and other pirates avoided certain waters where mermaids were supposed to live. Mermaid Myths

Latest Reviews