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Nen and the Lonely Fisherman - Ian Eagleton, ill. by James Mayhew

Having followed Ian Eagleton and his reading work on Twitter for a while (@reading_realm), and having 'met' sharing book recommendations over lockdown on various #edutwitter events, it is with unreserved joy that I share this review of the wonderful, sparkling, spectacular first book from him and illustrator James Mayhew, 'Nen and the Lonely Fisherman' - 'A magical tale of a merman's search for true love'.

As Nen sends a song of hope across the sea, a lonely young fishermen longs to find warmth in his heart.
One star-filled night, the two find each other.
But their special connection is met with dismay by Nen's father, the mighty Pelagios, who creates a wild sea storm to protect his son and his oceans.
Can Nen save Ernest?

I loved the story/plot in this...the two lost, lonely souls, whose stories and journeys inevitably collide; the overcoming of challenges, both physical (the storm) and in terms of attitudes (Pelagios); and the way that true love wins in the end. The perfect storm leading to the perfect ending. A modern retelling of a classic ('The Little Mermaid'), and if MrH's blogtour stop/post is correct (and I have no doubt it is! the true original form of the story as it was meant to be!

James Mayhew's stunning illustrations throughout the book add to the delight for readers...the stunning seascapes and the mix of horizontal and vertical page layouts are also a lovely favourite being the spread where readers are drawn into the depths that Nen explores first in his loneliness, and then again later as he searches for Ernest after the storm.

The cover too, is stunning...sparkling stars and shining shimmering iridescent waves are spectacular.

Messages of environmental awareness are also mentioned in the tale...Pelagios' concern for his son mixing in the world above with humans who are destroying his 'precious oceans' is what ultimately leads to his frustration and sending the storm that threatens Ernest's life...

This is such a warm, wonderful joy of a book...I can't wait to share it in school, and to recommend to anyone who will listen! Serious congratulations to Ian and James on what I'm sure will become a classic.

This is also one of those books for which I'm worried my own words and review don't do justice. So if you don't believe me, you can listen to none other than the one and only Stephen Fry reading Nen for yourself, here:

You can also take part in the following fun activities as part of the book launch and this blogtour:

Draw along with James

Ian talks about Nen for Moon Lane TV

released in perfect time for #Pride2021, I think this book should be in every school to enable children to see that love is love no matter who it's between, and to see characters they can empathise with, raising awareness of diversity and relationships in all their forms. Luckily, the wonderful people at 'A New Chapter' bookstore agree, and have set up a wishlist where you can donate a copy of the book to a school's wishlist. Follow them on Twitter as @ANewChapterBks or visit their website at to find out more.

Thanks again to Owlet Press, Ian and James for having me on the blogtour.

Check out other reviews and content at the sites below:

You can follow the author, illustrator and publisher at the following places:



@OwletPress (

Review by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot) June 2021

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