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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Mermaid in the Bathtub (The)
by Nurit Zarchi
Age Range: 6-8
When Mr Whatwilltheysay arrived home one day and found a Mermaid sitting in his best armchair he ran out of his apartment and wandered the streets until evening. When he returned, he found Grain-of-Sand, for that was the Mermaid’s name, still sitting in the armchair which was now floating in the middle of the living room! Mr Whatwilltheysay tells her that “half of you is really lovely, but I could never, ever get married to a fish. Just imagine what they would all say. ” “You’re saying that because you have legs ” is Grain-of-Sand riposte. As Mr Whatwilltheysay’s apartment fills up with water he is anxious for the Mermaid to leave, but when he discovers Grain-of-Sand really has gone will he regret his decision?
This is a delightfully absurd reimagined contemporary take on the classic Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid . Israeli author and illustrator duo Nurit Zarchi and Rutu Modan have created an off-beat story, translated from Hebrew by Tal Goldfajn, full of wry humour and surreal artwork. Modan’s comic-style illustrations are striking, colourful and fun. While younger readers will appreciate the amusing story and visuals, this multi-layered tale will also appeal to older readers (and adults) with its questioning of what is considered normal, embracing difference and accepting of others.