The Little Mermaid (Hardcover)

The Little Mermaid By Jerry Pinkney Cover Image
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Winter 2020 Kids Indie Next List

“A mermaid reclaims her voice in this powerful reimagining of the classic story. Friendship and repairing her seaside kingdom are the mermaid’s goals in this gorgeous book starring diverse characters.”
— Rae Ann Parker, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN


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."

About the Author

Jerry Pinkney is one of the most heralded children's book illustrators of all time and has illustrated more than 100 books. He has the rare distinction of being the recipient of five Caldecott Honors and the winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal for The Lion and the Mouse, and has since created several companion books: The Tortoise & the Hare, The Grasshopper & the Ants, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Little Mermaid.
He has won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award five times and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor four times. Jerry has received several major lifetime achievement awards and was also the first children's book illustrator elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The artist invites you to visit his website at

Praise For…

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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316440318
ISBN-10: 0316440310
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2020
Pages: 48
Language: English