Storyteller say, This happened oncet upon a time, on a little island off the coast of South Carolina. A girl named Sukey lived with her ma and new step-pa. Sukey called her step-pa "Mister Hard-Times." Every day, while he watched, she hoed the weeds in the garden and every day, she sang: Mister Hard-Times, Since you come My ma don't like me, My work never done. But one morning, when her step-pa wasn't looking, Sukey ran away to her secret hiding place by the sea and unwittingly called up Mama Jo, a beautiful black mermaid. The adventures that followed changed her life forever. In this dream-woven story, artfully retold by Robert D. San Souci from an American folktale, a poor girl finds her wishes answered not by treasure, or the sea's magic, but by goodness and love.
Brian Pinkney has illustrated numerous acclaimed books for children, including Martin Rising; In Your Hands; On the Ball; The Faithful Friend; Duke Ellington; and In the Time of the Drums. His many awards include two Caldecott Honors, a Coretta Scott King Illustration Award, four Coretta Scott King Illustration Honors, and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Visit him at BrianPinkney.net.