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The Little Mermaid

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  502 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
The Little Mermaid's universal longing for freedom, independence, and love is made real by Santore's sensitive presentation. School Library Journal said, "The opulent full-page watercolors are a perfect complement to this stylish and authentic interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale."
Published June 24th 1997 by Jelly Bean Press
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Mar 08, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chandra and Abigail!!!
A hauntingly beautiful story paired with achingly gorgeous illustrations! I'm sorry to say that this is the first time I've read the "actual" story of the Little Mermaid, previously acquainted only with very general retellings and the Disney movie version (which is delightful in its way). This version purports to be closest to Andersen's original as it makes only slight adaptations from the mid-19th century translation by Mary Howitt, a correspondent and friend of Andersen who introduced his wor ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Luxia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All those who have only seen the Disney version
*This review is for The Little Mermaid, Charles Santore's edition.*

But the story itself is the most haunting fairy tale ever written. And a lot of people sadly don't know the real story. We shall journey under the sea and into the deep abyss, but there are no singing sidekick Crabs and fishie friends to accompany or help rescue this Little mermaid.

The story will play out slightly more darker in Hans Christian Andersen's tale...of unrequited love, hope and selflessness. A pretty lovesick Mermai
Mandy Sickle
The little mermaid tells the story of the youngest daughter of the sea king. When her sisters turn sixteen they have their first view of the world above the sea. As her sisters each turn sixteen and return with stories the littlest mermaid can’t wait to explore the above world. On her first visit she comes across the handsome prince who she watches aboard his ship. When the ship is destroyed in the storm the little mermaid helps him to land. After returning to her home in the sea she can’t stop ...more
The text here is almost identical to the most common translation of Andersen's work, complete with soul-grabbing and possible murder in the subplots. Interestingly, they DID remove the emotional blackmail bit of telling the child if he or she is good, the mermaid can get to heaven faster. The illustrations do have the light quality one would expect from something underwater, and they're quite lovely. There isn't any real nudity to speak of, though it is suggested in places. The one thing that st ...more
Sierah Konopaski
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2009 Miriam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture, fairy-tale
I wouldn't go so far as to say I disliked Zwerger's illustrations, but neither did I feel they added anything to the text, which often went on for one or two pages with just words (and the occasional sentence highlighted in another color that was hardly noticeable in indirect light). It felt more like an art project than something for a child to enjoy.
Sad and Beautiful
I never knew the original story before and I found out that the book is totally different than what we heard in bedtime stories .. The original is way better and more living.
Nov 08, 2015 Shanu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So... mermaids don't have souls?

-great world buildings
-bad depiction of love and what a healthy relationship should be (no, your life is not worth a man's love)
-thank god there is no HEA ending

fun points :
-hans christian andersen must have known what it feels to be walking in heels "Every step she took was as the witch had said it would be, she felt as if treading upon the points of needles or sharp knives; but she bore it willingly, and stepped as lightly by the prince’s side as a soap-bubble,
Melanie Charles
So I finally read The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. Growing up the Disney movie was my all time favorite, I was obsessed with it. So I've always wanted to read the original story. I knew going into this that it was way different then the Disney version. But oh my goodness! I did not expect this. Honestly if I had read this as a little girl I would have been completely freaked out. Reading this NOW freaked me out. What in the world? I can't believe this is a children's story. I will ...more
"... mermaids have no tears, and therefore suffer all the more."

"Is there nothing I can do to obtain an immortal soul?"
"No, said the old sea queen, "unless a human being loved you so dearly that you were more to him than either his mother or father"

I've had fond memories of the little Mermaid for as long as I can remember. Ariel was my favorite Disney princess since the beginning of time. One of my fondest childhood memories is when my mom and I went to see The Little Mermaid on Ice. I was about
Apr 30, 2014 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is in a book called “Hans Andersen His Classic Fairytales”. When you open to the page to this story on the top is a picture of the mermaid’s kingdom with the title underneath and then the start of the story. This story was long so it contained two pictures one on the right side of page you have a full page of a drawing of the part in the Little Mermaid where the sea witch offers to give her legs in exchange for her voice. The second contained a picture of the young mermaid saving the ...more
Hannah Heath
This story just makes me happy. So beautiful and thought-provoking. Charles Santor's illustrations are amazing as well, so if you buy a version, make sure you get this one.
The Little Mermaid has been my favorite movie since I was a child. I decided recently to read the original book on which the movie was "based" and I don't think I'll ever be the same. I'm actually quite depressed. This book was dark and depressing and nothing like the movie that I grew up with. I honestly don't know how the people of Disney got away with slaying this classic. I, however, prefer the movie over the book. I' m kind of a sucker for happy endings and that's probably Disney's fault. I ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Danae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 01-folklore
it's good if you want a child to know how the original "Little Mermaid" goes. not the traditional story.
I read this aloud to my two youngest, ages 9 and 6, and we all enjoyed it.

This true and original story by Hans Christian Andersen is lyrical and has a beautiful moral. I wanted my children to hear this correct version, where the little mermaid pays a price for her choices, but also has the opportunity to do good and win an immortal soul, and to eventually make it to the kingdom of heaven.

It is unfortunate that Disney has ruined the story and made it very shallow by making all of the little mer
Judy Ekblad
Original version is quite different from the "Disneyized" one.
Lexie Orme
Jan 25, 2016 Lexie Orme rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 01-folklore
Long Long story. Few pictures. But i still enjoyed the original
Aug 24, 2014 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2014 Gaby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is beautiful and cruel. I loved it. I needed to read it after I saw the reference to it in the Kdrama Secret Garden.
One of few fairytales I knew before Disney told me what the rest of the world took as the story. I was really young and greatly disturbed when the girl threw herself into the ocean. I had not known what suicide was then. Now. I find it very sad, but there is a certain beauty in the operatic tragic way, which I guess one can only see with time. The drawings of this edition is gorgeous, dark yet vibrant with wonderful details in clothes and setting.
Sep 10, 2014 Kalen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this story before and my dad read it to me and my sister several time when we were younger. The picture in this version are absolutely stunning! The story is different and sadder than the Disney version but still very enjoyable.
The book has a Christian moral to it at the end but I'm not sure how some Christians would feel about mermaids and other spirits being able to make it into the kingdom of god for being good to humans.
Jul 16, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Moral of the story, don't give up your entire life for a guy.
I really liked seeing that the major points of this original version of the story made it into the actual movie! It was cool to see how Disney tried to tie in as much as possible from the original plot while keeping it PG. And while the Little Mermaid didn't end up with the prince in this version I still think the story had a beautiful, and arguably happy, ending.
Jul 28, 2010 Elfdart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was the first little mermaid story i was aware of. i’m not really a fan of disney because they alter the stories, among other things, and so in retrospect i thank my mother for getting me this book when i was young. The story is beautiful and the pictures are as beautiful as the story. This is my standard for the little mermaid story and to date all other renditions i’ve read have been sub-par in comparison.
Laura Madsen
Charles Santore's illustrations are gorgeous, sort of a fantastical Art Nouveau, like William Morris might have designed if he had a mermaid fetish.

As far as the story goes, this is not your Disney's Little Mermaid. No singing crabs, and only a marginally happy ending: the mermaid dies, but having acquired an immortal soul through being loved by a mortal, is able to ascend to heaven.
May 20, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a sad story! But, she did love him so much! At least he wasn't a jerk; he just didn't realize it and didn't feel the same way about her. I always hated him because it seemed like he just ditched her for someone else, but this clears up a lot of misconceptions.... I feel much more amicable toward him now that I know that he didn't love her and never told her so.
Jul 25, 2014 Esther rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Picture books lovers
This is the version of The Little Mermaid story I read when I was a child. It is such a beautiful love story. I see why Disney's version is made different but personally I prefer the original story much better. The writing/translation in this book is beautiful and the illustration is amazing. It's like reading a book with beautiful paintings!
Aug 05, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute but sad story. I think I prefer the Disney version. It has a much happier ending. However, Andersen paints a beautiful story of mermaids and his descriptions are amazing.
Honey Halliwell
Jun 20, 2014 Honey Halliwell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was raised on this story in its original form, but in my teens it was Disnified and given a happy ending. I find it sad how the original tragedy has been forgotten. The sacrifices, and ultimate sacrifice, of the mermaid was an important moral and one any reader will carry with them. I have for over 30 years.

Out of all the versions of the little Mermaid, Charles Santore's interpration is the one I grew up with, and it is the one I return to to this day. The illustrations are sumptuous, and the text (only slightly adapted from Andersen's original), is achingly beautiful. The ending never fails to reduce me to tears.
Mommy Farris
One of the most inspirational fairy tales of all time. Reading it is a spiritual experience. It is so sad that most people don't know the real story (thanks Disney). This edition is not only true to the original it's sumptuous illustrations by Charles Santore make it an even more moving experience.
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Charles Santore is an American illustrator best known for his children's books. His work is on display permanently at the Brandywine River Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. He won the Hamilton King award from the New York Society of Illustrators. His book William the Curious won the 1998 Storytelling World Honor from Storytelling magazine.
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“Never had she danced so beautifully; the sharp knives cut her feet, but she did not feel it, for the pain in her heart was far greater.” 35 likes
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