Sukey's new step-pa is a mean, bossy man. Every day Sukey wakes at dawn to work in the garden. All her step-pa ever does is watch her and yell if she so much as stops to fan herself. Sukey's ma calls him Mister Jones. Sukey prefers the name "Mister Hard-Times." Son one day, Sukey runs away to her secret place by the ocean. There, she calls up Mama Jo, a beautiful black mermaid. Mama Jo's got a surprise for Sukey; a magical kingdom beneath the sea without time or pain. But it's also without people. Is it really better than the world above?
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.