From School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Illustrations and pop-ups that sparkle with shimmering light and graceful motion characterize the latest title adapted by a master bookmaker. Much abridged and gently updated, the text closely follows the original, often echoing Andersen's phrasings and similes while streamlining events to create an eloquent yet accessible retelling. The little mermaid's heartfelt longing for her human prince, her quiet courage, and her selfless sacrifice at story's end are poignantly depicted in both words and images. Outlined with heavy black lines that lend a stained-glass effect, the artwork is spectacular. Glowing green and coral hues emblazon a multitiered sculpture of the sea king's realm festooned with plants that seem to tremble in an invisible current. The prince's storm-tossed ship is presented with the bow jabbing out toward readers, 3-D masts and ropes askew, and roiling blue-black ocean waves curling all around; the sea witch's abode, "built from the bones of shipwrecked sailors," towers tall and menacing. The stately pacing of narrative and artwork allows children to linger over the pages and explore the depths of the tale's emotional complexity.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journalα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Readers will gasp when they open the first page of Sabuda’s latest pop-up adaptation (Peter Pan, 2008; Beauty and The Beast, 2010). It’s an intricate below-sea world—the castle of the sea king extends 14 inches and is populated with merfolk, twisting trees, and brightly colored coral. The story itself plays out on side flaps and folded booklets, which also feature intricately rendered pop-ups (in one, the sea witch pops forth, moving eyebrows and all). Sabuda is faithful to Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, and the text seems less abridged than most retellings of classic stories. But let’s get back to those feats of paper engineering. On one spread, a ship pops out towards the reader and the final wedding scene, when the little mermaid holds the bride’s train, features a raised tent and guests. The colors are jewel-toned and lit like a stained-glass window and it’s visually splendid. Be careful with the pages, and enjoy time and again. Grades 1-4. --Ann Kelley