The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog

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The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog

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Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A book that just hits you with the most colourful and visual drama, yet retains a soul to match. Probably the best edition of the story in 180 years…
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: July 2017
Publisher: NBM/Papercutz
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781629917399

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Once upon a time, deep in the ocean depths, six mermaid sisters were waiting for the chance to come of age, and to finally see the lands above the waves. They had hardly ever put two and two together to realise that a sunken ship meant humans dying, but when they in turn grew up, they could see what was so special about the exotic air-breathing worlds – but they always returned to the seas. That is until the sixth and last mermaid – the littlest one of the bunch – went, saw a wondrous prince such as she had always admired in the form of a drowned statue, and determined to swap her life for his…

I'm showing form at this – when the chance arose for me to read The Snow Queen only the other year, it was to realise I'd never read it. Here, I've seen the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, and the more buxom one in Henley-on-Thames, but again never actually read a centuries-old classic for all ages. But I have at last caught up, and boy was it worthwhile.

The story is fine, with a simplicity to it, yet heart and soul and a poise in this adaptation that shows the dark qualities Andersen is so known for. The girl who wishes for too much, and/or the wrong thing entirely, the folly of love at first sight – the moral can be one of many things. But this edition will always be known to me for the artwork, which is purely a thing of beauty. OK, perhaps not purely – the mermaid's face is a little too wide-eyed and her hair a touch cartoonish at times, but boy, the colours on each and every page… Whether soaking in the golden hour's sun, or firmly fixed in the palette you'd expect of deep underwater, or both the human world and theirs meeting for the first time when our heroine approaches a ship, every shade of colour here is spot on, replete with detail and dazzling in execution.

So not only do you have a story that is perfectly readable, and re-readable, as the decades have shown, you also have presentation to match, if not surpass that, from the young Glaswegian duo known oddly as Metaphrog. It's the second of their books concerning Andersen adaptations I've met with, and their telling of The Red Shoes was more broadly cartoonish but equally powerful. This however surpasses much I've ever had the opportunity to see in publishing, either for the adult with an eye for visual creativity or for the younger audience this will receive. It truly is breath-taking at times, and is well worth the price of admission for a lifetime's enjoyment.

I'm avoiding The Orchard Book Of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales by Martin Waddell and Emma Chichester Clark – not because it isn't brilliant, but because I'm enjoying stumbling on the stories one by one.

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Buy The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog at


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