The Sea King’s Daughter

By the same illustrator as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Gennady Spirin and Aaron Shepard‘s The Sea King’s Daughter is a Russian version of the legend of the little mermaid. Publishers Weekly: “In the medieval city of Novgorod the Great, Sadko, a poor musician, longs for love as he sits by the River Volkhov and plucks his 12-string gusli. His music wins him the favor of the Sea King, who invites him to visit his palace under the sea. In pale watercolors sparked with lustrous gold, the royal attendants, including mermaids, lobsters in metal armor and crabs in puffed Elizabethan-style sleeves, float across a double-page full-bleed spread or a vignette panel in spiraling curves. Spirin renders them with a mistiness that creates the sensation of opening one’s eyes under water. The king insists Sadko marry his daughter Volkhova, the nymph of the river the musician loves. When Sadko learns that kissing her would separate him from his beloved homeland forever, he reluctantly forsakes Volkhova’s affections and returns from whence he came. ‘He wept,’ writes Shephard, ‘perhaps for joy, perhaps for sadness at his loss, perhaps for both.’ A short afterword gives a history on Russian legends, but no facts can detract from the mood of eloquent enchantment created here.” Giggle factor: not applicable; somewhat sentimental instead. Adult enjoyment: if you like art. Illustrations: five jelly jars.


~ by kaychubbuck on July 17, 2011.

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