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Mermaid Tales From Around the World

Mermaid Tales From Around the World

5.0 2
by Mary Pope Osborne, Troy Howell (Illustrator)

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Enchanting tales of sea nymphs from 12 cultures, including Chinese, Iranian, African, and Native American, are eloquently retold in this acclaimed collection. Full color. An "American Bookseller" Pick of the Lists.


Enchanting tales of sea nymphs from 12 cultures, including Chinese, Iranian, African, and Native American, are eloquently retold in this acclaimed collection. Full color. An "American Bookseller" Pick of the Lists.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Contrary to what some moviegoers may think, Disney didn't invent mermaids. The aquatic females have figured in myths and folktales since time out of mind, and readers looking for life beyond Ariel would do well to check out the bevy of sea nymphs featured in Osborne and Howell's ( Favorite Greek Myths ) outstanding collection of stories. Osborne has culled her choices from many cultures--African, European, Asian, Native American and Mediterranean, to name a few--and the resulting stories more than uphold her assertion that mermaids are hardly the ``typical legendary heroine--beautiful, kind, and in need of rescue.'' Rather, these spirits are ``fiercely strong'' and independent, sometimes generous, sometimes merciless. Osborne's retellings are seamless, her prose both vigorous and picturesque (``The morning light shone on her sea-green hair like melted butter shines on cabbage''), while Howell's astonishing illustrations provide a virtual crash-course in art history. In a radical departure from his usual lush, realistic style, Howell instead reaches into the heart of the particular culture producing each tale: the frontispiece for an Iranian tale is reminiscent of a Persian miniature; the artwork for the Greek myth of Galatea and the Cyclops resembles the decoration on a black-figure urn; and the Irish folktale features the kind of stylized primitive that might be found on a pub sign. Readers can only hope that Osborne and Howell will continue to collaborate--their teamwork is magnificent. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 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

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.05(w) x 10.83(h) x 0.33(d)
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Mary Pope Osborne is an American author of children’s books. She is best known for the award-winning and bestselling Magic Tree House series, which has been translated into more than 30 languages. Growing up in a military family, Osborne traveled a lot and continued to do so as an adult, which influences her writing. The first of the Magic Tree House books, Dinosaurs Before Dark, introduces adventuring siblings Jack and Annie. Osborne has also written several books for children relating to mythology, historical fiction and fact, and more.

Brief Biography

Goshen, Connecticut
Date of Birth:
May 20, 1949
Place of Birth:
Fort Sill, Oklahoma
B.A., University of North Carolina

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Mermaid Tales From Around the World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has some very entertaining stories and educational. I really enjoyed reading them all, and my imagination just took off. Each story is unique to fit the traditions from the country they are told from. I found it fascinating how each culture sees the mermaid and how they go about telling their story. These stories clearly steer away from Disney interpretation of mermaids, but there is a familiar story at the end of the book. Learn the real ending to the Little Mermaid's main character Ariel. The author has taken mermaid tales from around the world to create some fun tales.