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Step into Reading Little Mermaid


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About the Author

Deborah Hautzig is the author of the popular Little Witch books as well as many other Step into Reading titles. She is also the author of the bestselling novel Second Star to the Right. She lives in New York. Darcy May is an illustrator known for Stuart Little, The True Bride, Heartless Giant, Seven Dwarves, and other timeless children's classics.


Gr 3-6-A romantic interpretation of the classic tale. Hague has illustrated this traditional translation with jewel-toned paintings, depicting scenes of the little mermaid and her sisters in their underwater palace; the frightening realm of the hideous sea witch; the prince's storybook kingdom; and the ethereal forms of the daughters of the air. The illustrations, one to a page, vary in size from the first magical, full-page view of the Sea King's palace to the final, starlit glimpse of the lovely little mermaid smiling farewell to her beloved prince. Edward Frascino's pictures in Eva Le Gallienne's translation (HarperCollins, 1971; o.p.) feature a cartoonlike mermaid, and Chihiro Iwasaki's art in Anthea Bell's translation (Picture Book Studio, 1991) is more abstract. This new edition is a worthy purchase for all collections.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

"The most significant achievement of Hautzig's adaptation is that it restores to the mass market Andersen's original ending."--Bulletin, Center for Children's Books.

Isadora's (Isadora Dances) haunting retelling of this classic tale leaves Disney's cotton-candy version far behind. Hewing faithfully to the darker themes of Andersen's original, Isadora relates the bittersweet story of the little mermaid who falls in love with a human prince and finds her love unrequited. Doomed by the sea witch's nefarious contract to become sea foam, the mermaid rejects the villainess's offer to save herself by murdering the prince, and instead martyrs herself for love. It's a fey, powerfully moving tale, exquisitely illustrated. While the text spools out against squares of sea-washed greens and grays, Isadora's ethereal watercolor portraits register a wide range of emotions, from the sweet innocence of the mermaid's yearning captured in a face tilted toward the water's surface, to the eerie image of her five sisters floating on a moonlit sea, offering up a knife to slay the prince. Isadora displays a dramatist's sense of lighting, endowing many scenes with the visual presence of a stage play. The sea-witch, for instance, is doubly frightening by virtue of her face being illuminated as if by footlights, casting cruel shadows and highlights across her leering visage. Isadora's superb artistic efforts outshine the somewhat pedestrian retelling, however, which lacks the emotional resonance of the illustrations. Ages 4-8. (May)

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