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The Little Mermaid (Pop-Up Classics) Hardcover – October 1, 2013
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
As always, the pop-ups by Sabuda are amazing. My personal favorites are when her tail is transformed into legs and when she emerges from the water as you open the page. There are many little surprises like that with elaborate paper constructs that few pop-up engineers achieve. This time Sabuda's stained glass style illustrations with heavy black lines and jewel tone colors capture the sea and land colors beautifully. There are faint allusions to early illustrators, such as Edmund Dulac, and the mermaid's hair is red, which hearkens to Disney, but that is about all for the Disney influences. And really, who can condemn that choice that since the red hair has become iconic since Disney released the film almost 25 years ago.
A great book and a worthy addition to any pop-up or fairy tale library.
As a child I was haunted by The Little Mermaid. I imagined the beauty of her undersea world, felt terror at her plight, and wished in the most profound way possible that one day I'd wake up and find a little mermaid in my bathtub. When the Disney version came out, I was relieved that no more little girls would feel the Mermaid's pain of the clams on her tail, or the knives as she danced, or the hopelessness as she watched the Prince with his bride; but at the same time I knew the shadow cast by the old story was more true to the life I experienced as I grew up.
The story is dark: a mermaid longs for an immortal soul, is put through an excruciating trial, and appears to lose everything in the end. It hints that the price of love and sexuality is unrelenting pain, and the only escape is cruelty or death. Should little children read this? I don't know. But the story can settle deeply into a young girl's bones.
I am a huge fan of Sabuda. His pop-ups are extravagant and wildly colored, and this book is no exception. The side books are wonderfully inventive and intricate. No child could fail to be enchanted by the visions both dark and light in this book, nor any adult either. Some of the pop-ups are heavy and fragile, so be careful!
There are 5 full pop-up spreads that take up two pages, and then there are the smaller pop-ups which are found in the insert booklets. Sabuda has outdone himself yet again with this glorious pop-up book and it is not only the paper engineering that impressed my daughter and I, but also the care taken with the story, capturing all the important aspects of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale. The font is a little small for my tired eyes, but I can understand the necessity for the smaller print due to constraints of space. Readers, especially parents need to be aware that this adaptation adheres to the original ending where the little mermaid in a final act of sacrifice, becomes sea foam, although because of the purity of her selfless act, she attains an immortal soul. As can be seen, this is not the Disney version of Ariel the little mermaid, so parents of younger children, particularly the under-fives might want to take note of this.
There are ten pages in all but there is plenty of content, thanks to the genius of Sabuda's artistic talents. The little inserts on each page can be opened up to reveal the story and also little pop-ups to enhance the narrative. It is just amazing, and I count this as one of the best pop-up books I've ever read. It definitely earns pride of place in our home library and I can picture this book being treasured by my daughter for many more years to come. As with all pop-up books, care needs to be exercised in unfolding the pop-ups and closing the pages again, ensuring the pop-ups are not damaged, but nothing some parental supervision cannot overcome. Highly recommended for all fans of pop-ups, and of course for those who have enjoyed the immortal tale of The Little Mermaid.