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Review by C.J. Bunce

One hundred and eighty-five years after Hans Christian Andersen first penned his fairy tale The Little Mermaid, the most famous fish out of water story continues to charm readers of all ages.  Countless editions of Andersen’s famous story, along with his other famous works, have been printed and reprinted, and adapted for the small screen and big screen with the latest–a live-action version–coming from Disney by the end of the year, incorporating songs from the studio’s 1989 version.  But if you haven’t read the original fairy tale lately–or at all–you may be surprised to learn how much closer the 1984 live-action movie Splash was to the original.  With the new film on its way, what better time to revisit the original, and we’ve found an incredible new, lavishly illustrated edition from designers MinaLima that makes a great storybook to read to kids, full of interactive elements.  Check out a preview of The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales for borg readers below, along with some details of what you’ll find inside, including some important fairy tales everyone, of every age, should know.

The first thing to know is Andersen wrote these stories during the 1830s.  He was a fan of–and friend to–British author Charles Dickens, and both had an appreciation for the plight of children in the Victorian age, who often suffered from poverty and hard times resulting in part from the Industrial Revolution.  So don’t look for clean, crisp, happy endings to Andersen’s fairy tales.  Many leave the reader asking as many questions as quenching the thirst of kids for fantasies and adventures.  The Little Mermaid is a tale of marvel and wonder, but its ending isn’t what modern readers might expect.  Most of Andersen’s fairy tales in MinaLima’s illustrated edition have puzzling endings.  Another well-known story, The Princess and the Pea, is only a page long, and yet its curious message is very clear.

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The MinaLima edition includes twelve stories: The Little Mermaid, The Nightingale, The Ugly Duckling, The Swineherd, The Tinder Box, The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Red Shoes, Thumbelina, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Little Match Girl, and the seven-part story The Snow Queen.  I wager most readers will be surprised by these fairy tales, and recall reading abridged or heavily modified versions of these stories.  The Tinder Box is surprisingly good, with its three rather unusual canine helpers.  Thumbelina is a more epic adventure than you may remember.  The Red Shoes has an almost The Scarlet Letter ring to it.  The Emperor’s New Clothes is probably the most referenced of all of Andersen’s works in the 21st century, especially in political discussions.  And there may be no better, more enjoyable story than The Ugly Duckling.

MinaLima is the design studio combining the imaginations of two artists that gained notoriety for creating the entire ten-year run of graphic art and graphic props for the Harry Potter film series (discussed in the books The Archive of Magic, The Art of Harry Potter, and The Art of Harry Potter pocket edition).  Remember all those newspapers with moving images?  British design artist Miraphora Mina and Brazilian design artist Eduardo Lima created even more for the franchise as Rowling’s wizarding world continues in the first two movies in the Fantastic Beasts series.  The studio has also provided imagery for The Golden Compass, Sweeney Todd, and The Imitation Game.  As with MinaLima’s illustrated edition of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden (reviewed here) MinaLima again offers up its artistry and design to make a new definitive version of a classic–a storybook that could be a new favorite for the next generation of readers.

Take a look at these preview pages:

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Design studio MinaLima has partnered with Harper Design to release a truly beautiful version of The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales incorporating three-dimensional elements and hundreds of pieces of colorful line art and decorations.  Iconic symbols pulled from each story adorn the page numbers, colorful end papers introduce each new chapter, the text is in a classic storybook typeset, each chapter is accompanied by colorful imagery, and pop-up and other interactive cardboard and paper creations emphasize story elements.  As with the other books in the series, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, The Beauty and the Beast, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, and the forthcoming latest addition to the library, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (available for pre-order here), the 240-page hardcover features a gilded, textured cover.

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A stunning edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales from MinaLima and Harper Design, this will be the kind of keepsake storybook perfect for young to middle grade girls and boys and adult fans of fantasy and fairy tales.  The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales is available now here at Amazon.