Nicholas Pipe

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In this luminous picture book?based on an old folk legend and brought to life with David Shannon's glowing illustrations?master storyteller Robert San Souci tells the tale of Nicholas Pipe, the merman. Nicholas can swim like a fish, but on land he walks like any other man. And it is while on land that Nicholas falls in love with Margaret. Together they defy her father, outwit the jealous sea-folk, and even ...
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Overview

In this luminous picture book—based on an old folk legend and brought to life with David Shannon's glowing illustrations—master storyteller Robert San Souci tells the tale of Nicholas Pipe, the merman. Nicholas can swim like a fish, but on land he walks like any other man. And it is while on land that Nicholas falls in love with Margaret. Together they defy her father, outwit the jealous sea-folk, and even stand up to the king himself!

"San Souci has woven his magic once again." —School Library Journal

A retelling of a twelth-century tale in which a young woman falls in love with a merman and determines to marry him despite their separate worlds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Prolific storyteller San Souci (The Talking Eggs; The Hired Hand, reviewed Apr. 14) embroiders a 12th-century folklore fragment into an unabashedly romantic tale of a star-crossed couple. A fisherman's daughter, Margaret, falls in love with Nicholas Pipe, a merman who lives on land but must touch the sea every day or he will die. Although Pipe saves the father and daughter during a fierce storm, the distrustful fisherman forbids the match between Margaret and Pipe and then has Pipe carted away to join the king's collection of curiosities. Repentance, rescue and marriage soon follow. San Souci mixes traditional storybook language in with his own impeccable prose ("From the gathering dark and churning waves came screeches and the murmur of voices speaking a strange language. `We are doomed!' groaned [the father]"). Shannon's (The Rough-Face Girl) acrylics are most evocative when portraying the sea: the cloud-swept skies, dreamlike underwater vistas and chilling storm-tossed waves underscore the tale's drama. The bordered text is adorned with a single red rose and a seashell, emblems of the joining of land and sea that the lovers represent. Overall, a stylish collaboration. Ages 5-8. (June)
Children's Literature - Sheree Van Vreede
Spectacular illustrations accompany this story with a classic style. Nicholas Pipe is a merman who can walk on two legs on land, but must touch the sea everyday. Nicholas and Margaret fall in love despite her father's disapproval. Throughout the book, they struggle to find a way to be together. San Souci adapts the story from a 17th century English priest's writings. A great picture book for any collection.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6San Souci has woven his magic once again. This retelling of a folktale about a merman who comes to love a woman of the land is well told and intriguing. According to the source notes, this character can be traced to legends from the 12th century. Nicholas Pipe is an enchanted merman who lives on land, needing only to touch the sea each day. He is a kind neighbor and falls deeply in love with Margaret, Marius the fisherman's daughter, who is forbidden to speak with him since the merfolk caused her brother's death some years before. As the tale unfolds, Nicholas saves the lives of Margaret and her father in a storm, but is captured by the king's soldiers when Marius reports him. Margaret's deep love and truthful words influence her father and together they rescue the dying merman and return him to the sea. In a moving conclusion, Nicholas swims back to Margaret, proposing and offering her a perfect pearl from his sea world. Shannon's stunning acrylic paintings are fitting to this powerful story. The text is framed by rough-hewn wood decorated with a single rose and seashell. The richly colored, yet subdued full-page pictures carry the story from sea to land, from storm to calm, with emotional depth. Nicholas Pipe should take his rightful place on the folktale shelf in every library.Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Kirkus Reviews
San Souci (The Hired Hand, p. 649, etc.) notes that this story of the love between a merman and a woman of the land first saw the light of day as a 12th-century tale. In this tinkering, Nicholas Pipe, the man from the ocean, has found acceptance in a seaside community as a handyman, and in particular for his talents in forecasting storms. He has caught the eye of Margaret, but her father, Marius, forbids their associating: The merfolk were thought to have drowned Margaret's brother long ago. Even when Nicholas informs the town about an impending squall and eventually saves both Margaret and her father, Marius repays Nicholas by turning him in to the authorities, who collect such oddities for the king. But Margaret defies Marius, follows Nicholas, and saves his life—with the help of her repentant father. It's all very bold and heroic; Shannon's acrylics add weight to the ancient tone, and in his scenes of the greedy seafolk, makes the link between the forces of nature and the folklore that the elements inspired. San Souci may be invoking an old story, but he also frames a few timeless ideas about responsibility, tolerance, and that simple thing called love.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140565201
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2000
  • Series: Picture Puffin Books Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.12 (h) x 0.12 (d)

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