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In this captivating reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic, Caldecott medalist and bestselling artist Jerry Pinkney conjures a poignant friendship story and an epic tale of redemption — the definitive new version for our time.

Melody, the littlest sea princess, is not content just to sing in the choir of mermaids like her sisters. She is an explorer who wonders about what lies above the water’s surface . . . especially the young girl she has spied from a distance. To meet her requires a terrible sacrifice: she trades her beautiful voice for a potion that gives her legs, so that she may live on land instead. It seems like a dream come true at first. But when trouble stirs beneath the ocean, Melody faces another impossible choice — stay with her friend, or reclaim her true identity and save her family.

Legendary artist Jerry Pinkney’s singular reinvention of this tale about love and sacrifice empowers young, twenty-first century girls with the strong message that “you should never give up your voice . . . for anyone.”

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

Best Children's Books of 2020

"Pinkney creates a vivid watercolor world in which all the characters, human and mermaids alike, are Black. This visual dynamic is particularly effective in illustrating the affinity between Melody and Zion, two fundamentally different beings."—New York Times
"An essential and empowering adaptation, for all ages, and every collection."—School Library Journal, starred review
"...Affirms girls' voices and power while offering dazzling undersea magic."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Pinkney has created a virtuosic alternative that celebrates the acceptance of differences and adds transformative girl-power to Andersen's complex and disturbing original."—Booklist, starred review
"His watercolor illustrations retain their signature delicacy and seem especially suited for a tale that partially takes place underwater... I'm almost envious of the young readers who'll get to grow up with thisLittle Mermaid as their Little Mermaid."—BookPage, starred review
"As always, Jerry Pinkney's pencil and watercolor illustrations are exquisite: delicate yet powerful and full of detail and action...[the] colors are almost luminescent...."—School Library Connection
"Move over, Ariel. This adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson classic showcases Melody, a Black heroine who comes to life in an updated spin (and in watercolors that are practically frame-worthy)."—Parents
"Jerry Pinkney has mastered the art of the picture book rethink, and he comes through again in The Little Mermaid."—Shelf Awareness
"The replacement of the original love story with a friendship story is a warm and welcome touch for children, and Melody's agency throughout makes her an admirable heroine...Pinkney's lush watercolor scenes draw readers in with rich details and vibrant hues...Another modern classic from one of our finest illustrators."—Kirkus Reviews
"The emphasis on friendship rather than romance gives the story a new, more age-appropriate hook, and kids will definitely understand the immensity of giving up a friend..."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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