A collection of twelve mermaid tales from around the world, featuring such sources as France, Greece, and North Africa.
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Grade 4 Up-It's common for folklore retellers to cite their sources, and Osborne does a lovely job of tracing the roots and explaining how she adapted each of these stories. However, it's rarer for illustrators to explain their research and artistic processes, so Howell's notes are fascinating. These appendixes also show the care and scholarship that permeate this volume. Of the 12 tales, only Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" is very well known. The other entries come from around the world and from different times-ancient Greece to 19th-century America. As Osborne points out in her introduction, these selections feature strong heroines who just happen to have fish tails. Being magical creatures, some can offer wealth and happiness; others can become human, marry, and have children; and a few are evil and vengeful. This rich collection is further enhanced by thoughtfully designed color plates and page decorations. Each picture furthers the understanding of the story through content and style (e.g., authentic African patterns are used to decorate the Nigerian tale, while the Greek tale is accompanied by artwork influenced by the area's terra-cotta pottery). An anthology that will enrich any collection.
Karen K. Radtke, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Osborne admits that when she began to collect mermaid tales she expected to find in them a ``typical legendary heroine-- beautiful, kind, and in need of rescue.'' She was startled to find water-maids more commonly portrayed as powerful, strong-willed, and independent. These 12 examples certainly bear her out: in medieval France, Melusine saves her human husband from punishment for accidentally killing his father; a Cornish mermaid drags a soldier to his death for callously abandoning her human ward; a young Ukrainian finds Nastassia of the Sea ``bold and remarkable''--and very hard to woo. Similarly, in tales from Asia, Africa, and North America, mermaids (in one case, a merman) become friends, make bargains, or fall in love with land-dwellers, generally (but not always) to someone's regret. As in Osborne's Favorite Greek Myths (1989), each tale opens with one of Howell's sumptuous, romantic paintings; here, he displays his technical skill in expert evocations of a succession of traditional national and historical styles. Osborne has edited or rewritten her selections--even Andersen's ``The Little Mermaid''--but appends explanatory source notes and a bibliography. A handsome, engrossing eye-opener. (Folklore. 10+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Scholastic, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0439047811
Book Description Scholastic, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110439047811