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The Little Mermaid Hardcover – September 9, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Minedition (September 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698400011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698400016
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As she has with previous interpretations of classics, Zwerger (Alice in Wonderland) works from Bell's faithful translation of Andersen's text, with no happily ever after. Here the mermaid must watch her beloved prince marry another, knowing that she herself will die the following day. Zwerger's exquisite watercolors bring to life the mermaid's world. At a window in the castle of her father, the sea king, the mermaid gazes out into the blue-green distance, wondering what life above must be like; while fish dart in and out, she pets one absently. Watery meadows of jade and turquoise suggest empty silence and foreshadow the mermaid's sacrifice to the sea witch—in exchange for a human form, the heroine must trade her voice, "a lovelier voice than anyone on earth or in the sea." Zwerger represents the mermaid's shunning of her undersea home with a depiction of her overgrown garden, once the heroine's pride and joy. Other memorable scenes, framed in a white border, depict the mermaid towing the prince to shore after a shipwreck and, later, as dawn breaks on the day she is to turn to sea foam, the mermaid looks resolute, clothed in a glorious golden gown that resembles fish scales. Zwerger's parting scene, an aerial view of the prince's ship sailing away, amplifies the bittersweet yet redemptive conclusion, in which the little mermaid, now a "child of the air," may earn an immortal soul. The illustrations may well provide endless hours of reverie. Ages 4-8.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6–Bell provides a smooth and accurate translation of Andersen's moralistic tale of a little mermaid who saves a prince from drowning, then gives up her own life to ensure his happiness. The cover illustration showing the little mermaid pulling the prince to shore sets the tone for the story to come. Soft blues and greens predominate in Zwerger's impressionist watercolors, but she has added some eye-catching spots of color to the people, buildings, and boats. There is also color in the many small illustrations of fish and other sea creatures that appear throughout, adding a bit of brightness to the narrative's heavy-handed emphasis on suffering and death, and breaking the monotony of pages packed with text. Sentences printed in colored type serve as captions for the larger paintings. This version will be appreciated by an older, more sophisticated audience than Rachel Isadora's condensed retelling (Putnam, 1998) with its warmly colored, more realistic scenes.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

The illustrations are beautiful.
r.jacob
I am a big fan of the undiluted Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales.
Regalupa
This book would be for the older child or an adult.
Gin Temoshawsky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Bias admitted up front: I'm a huge fan of Lisbeth Zwerger. It would be nigh on to impossible to select my favorite from the many children's books she has illustrated. I think of the irreplaceable "Wizard of Oz" with a perky little Dorothy in her apron and red hat or the wonderful "Hansel and Gretel" with the rosy cheeked girl pushing the dreadful witch into an oven. One could go on and on. Each time I come across another book illustrated by Zwerger I think it's even better than what has come before.

This Vienna born artist has a vision, I think, and she brings this to each of her works. She has been quoted as saying that her favorite authors are the Grimm Brothers, Charles Dickens, and Hans Christian Andersen. Yet, when she paints, she does not see these stories as they've been presented in the past but with a completely fresh approach. That's certainly true with her paintings for "The Little Mermaid."

Begin with the end papers, shiny reflections of water's depths and then our first view of the sea king's castle with its coral walls and shell roof - dwarfed by the immensity of the sea. Each full page painting is framed in white, adding to the pristine quality of the images. Sea shells and fish decorate margins. Zwerger brings both wit and understanding to her work; it's unlike any other and totally captivating.

Surely, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the translation from the Danish by Anthea Bell. Here is no Disney mermaid, but the fully realized story as written by Andersen, full of wonder and hope.

Yes, "The Little Mermaid" would make a wonderful gift, but you'd best buy two - one to keep and enjoy.

- Gail Cooke
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
When I got this book I was turning twelve My sister got it for me and I thought "no big deal" but I opened this book and cried over the first page. It is very beutiful. Sarah Knapp age :13 (well, this Sept, 29th)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Lucero on February 12, 2003
Format: School & Library Binding
Many authors and illustrators have tried to tell this story before, but this particular book is a treasure for any 6 to 9 year old to have in her collection of classic fairy tales. Each page of artwork should be a painting - they are so stunning and magical. This version follows the Hans Christian Andersen version of the famous tale, not the Disney movie. Therefore, the Little Mermaid goes up to heaven in the end, which may bother some preschoolers. The reading level is at about the 2nd grade level. A great book to share at story-time with an early reader, as the pictures will motivate them to try and read it.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Nina Matthews on July 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Growing up, Disney's version of this story was probably my favorite movie. Id really never known that there was a book until I came across it in the library(which is silly, because this is something of a classic.)

Reading this book rather enraged me. The ending is quite different from the Disney ending and I dont understand why they felt the need to change it. This is a lovely tale of unrequited love as well as failure and disapointment. Every story need not have a happy ending and unfortunately most children's tales do. Maybe Im a pessimist, but it seems that stories where everything works out in the end might be sending children the message of a perfect world where disapointment is out of the norm.

I just wish there were more stories of this sort to give kids a more realistic view of their future, because they have to learn sooner or later.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I was younger, about seven or eight, my mom got me this book, and i fell in love with it. The illustrations in it are beautiful! I would stay up at night just looking at the pictures. when i lost the book, i was going crazy trying to find it. But when i saw that amazon.com had it, i ordered a new one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roberta Wright on August 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really loved this version of The Little Mermaid. It was very beautiful and sad at the same time. I loved the part where it was talking about each of the mermaid's 15th Birthday that they would go up to the serface and see what it was like. The book was sad in a way. It was when the little mermaid was talking to her grandmother and found out that they don't have a soul after they die. The part about the sea witch was kind of scary... but not. Though I didn't like how she had to cut the mermaid's tounge off. The mermaid does give up everything and her life... because the one whom she loved fell in love with another girl. You have to read this book for yourself. I really loved this book! I hope you will too!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By How Roode on January 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are many beautiful versions of this book, and I'm sure I'll eventually see all of the ones that people have reviewed here, but that cover you see up top is from the version illustrated by Michael Hague. I'm a little biased, but the book is really stunning: the artwork balances nicely between beautiful and frightening, and Andersen's original text tell's the Little Mermaid's simple story with a sensitivity toward her character that is rare in fiction written during the same period. While I'll admit that this book is probably best appreciated by children 6 years old and up, DO NOT insult your child's intelligence or maturity by thinking they can't handle a story in which the main character dies....the beauty of the story is in the the universal truth that love conquers all, outliving even death. What better lesson to teach children?
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