Katie Daynes: The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid - Katie Daynes

Alan Marks' watercolour illustrations are exquisite. Katie Daynes' retelling of this classic Hans Christian Andersen story is both more lyrical and gentler than the original, making it a more appropriate story to read to young children. Unlike the Disney version, this one keeps the sad ending, and in the book's illustrations the little mermaid has all the youth and vulnerability of a 16-year-old girl (unlike Ariel, who looks and acts about 23, in my opinion). This gave me a deeper understanding of the mermaid's youthfully impetuous decisions, and I now see this story as being about the tragic lack of good judgement that comes with first love, and not some archaic ode to feminine self-sacrifice (which is how I read the original). The result is less melodramatic but no less touching than the original story. This is one of my favourite children's books, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a beautiful children's book.