The Little Mermaid is about an underwater kingdom in which a young mermaid resides. When the mermaid surfaces to the world above the water, she becomes enraptured by a young prince, falls in love with him, causing her to make the decision to leave her family and her home in order to try to further pursue him, but must succeed in doing so to avoid fatal consequences.
This slim volume holds both Andersen's much-read tale of a mermaid who sacrifices her voice for a chance to win the human prince she loves and the story of a "true-hearted" tin soldier with one leg who falls in love with a paper ballerina. Both focus on doomed, unreciprocated love, their characters' sacrifice and loyalty resonating with spiritual meaning. Hoekstra's adept translation captures the author's signature baroque detail: "The fruit shone like gold and the flowers looked like burning flames, their stems and leaves forever flickering." Andersen's vivid imagined world and curlicued spiritual plots overshadow Crawford-White's occasional black-and-white illustrations; their style recalls the detailed images popular in adult coloring books. Ages 7 10.