Published by Papercutz on April 4, 2017
Genres: Graphic novel, Fairy tale
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The Little Mermaid is Hans Christian Andersen's most celebrated tale and is beautifully adapted here as a graphic novel by the Eisner award nominated duo Metaphrog (Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers).
The Little Mermaid lives deep under the ocean and longs to see the world above. When at last she is allowed to rise to the surface at age fifteen, she falls in love with a young prince. In order to become a human and to be with him, she makes a dangerous pact with the Sea Witch.
I’m always a little worried about re-workings of The Little Mermaid. So many of us have seen the Disney version and expect the happy ending for the prince and the mermaid. Metaphrog isn’t giving us a happy ending, they are sticking closer to the original by Hans Christian Andersen.
Our Little Mermaid does fall in love with a human prince and does make a deal with a witch, but the witch is not scary. The Witch is helping and warning our mermaid, but the mermaid still wants to have legs and the witch obliges at the cost of the mermaid’s voice. The mermaid does get to live in the prince’s palace, but the prince marries someone else. In the end, the little mermaid jumps into the sea, dissolves into foam and will live forever in the water. It’s a sad story really.
Metaphrog does cut out the more religious aspects of the original, which should make it appeal to a larger audience. The concept of souls that was so important in the original is left out here.
I loved the illustrations. They are gorgeous and full of detail. The underwater scenes are in shades of blue and green while the land scenes are warm oranges and reds. The mermaid’s feelings can be seen in her expressions. I found the panels easy to follow, which is not always the case, probably because I don’t read many graphic novels/comics.
I think this would be a good book to read with kids, but only if they are going to be okay with a the ending not being the happy wedding. My daughter would have been; I don’t know that my niece would enjoy it. It is beautiful though.
This spread is from early in the story, when the Little Mermaid is dreaming of the time she’ll be old enough to see what’s above the water.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.