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The Seal Prince

The Seal Prince

by Shelia Macgill-Callahan, Kris Waldherr (Illustrator), Jihong Shi (Illustrator)

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When it comes time for Grainne, the beautiful daughter of the lord and lady of Skye, to marry, she rejects the island suitors to be with Deodatus, a seal-man she once rescued from death.


When it comes time for Grainne, the beautiful daughter of the lord and lady of Skye, to marry, she rejects the island suitors to be with Deodatus, a seal-man she once rescued from death.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This book retells a story from the Isle of Skye about a kind maiden who falls in love with the Seal Prince. The illustrations show a love of the magic that rules sea, land, and tales of old.
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
The author is quick to point out that this is his version of a story told for generations in his own Scottish family. It is a tale that is likely familiar to anyone knowledgeable about Irish/Scottish folklore. The older Lord and Lady of Skye are blessed with the arrival of a daughter Grainne, which means Grace. On her eighth birthday, she rescues a baby seal. On each subsequent year, a larger seal visits her on that beach on that day. On her eighteenth birthday, Grainne meets a handsome young man during her birthday beach walk and they immediately fall in love with one another. But she also realizes that he is a magical seal-man and must avoid his gray cloak, or be doomed to spend eternity in the land of Tirnan Og. Grainne spurns the love of this seal-man, for her duty to her elderly parents. For many years, she continues to meet him for that one day, staying under the magical protection of the rowan tree. When her father decrees that she will marry, Deodatus is the one to who wins her hand. He gives up his life in the sea until such time that their children can rule over the kingdom of Skye. This is truly a magical tale of love, honor, and loyalty. Each finely detailed illustration is presented as a matted print, using watercolors and colored pencils to convey the magic of the Scottish folk.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4MacGill-Callahan explores the themes of love and duty in her poetic retelling of a Scottish folktale. Every year since her eighth birthday, Princess Grainne visits with the seal she helped rescue on the rocky shore of the island of Skye. When she is 18, the seal visits her in the form of a young prince named Deodatus. He invites her to his watery kingdom, but, mindful of her duty to her parents, Grainne refuses. Seven more years pass, during which she refuses all suitors. Finally, her father, irritated by her steady refusal to marry, promises her to the man who brings him the largest catch of fish. Deodatus wins the competition at the eleventh hour, then relinquishes his sealskin to remain in human form until their oldest son comes of age. On that day, the couple returns to his kingdom under the sea. As with The Children of Lir (Dial, 1993), MacGill-Callahan's narrative is smooth and lucid with vivid imagery. While Grainne might seem too passive for some tastes, she does exhibit quiet initiative and resolve, not to mention a fairly strong sense of self-preservation. The reteller cites her father as an oral source for the tale and mentions that it ``...exists in many versions.'' Waldherr's watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations capture both the stony, uncompromising island and the fluid lines of the sea. The artist employs a palette of muted colors, against which brighter colors take on vibrancy. With its happy ending, this tale differs from the more familiar selkie stories and is a fresh and appealing choice.Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
8.56(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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