Off the Shelf: The Little Mermaid Illustrated by Michael Hague

I’m so excited to tell you about what I found at a bookstore in Phoenix a few weeks back. It’s a copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid illustrated by the wonderful Michael Hague.

 

It was first published by Henry Holt and Company in 1981, but this is a 1994 sturdy hardback edition.

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I just love Michael Hague. I don’t pretend to be an expert or anything, but just look at the details. Here’s the Sea King’s palace at the deepest part of the ocean.

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And here is the little mermaid astonished by everything she sees at the surface of the ocean.

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And here she is playing with the dolphins.

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I know it’s difficult to see, but here is a two-page spread showing the prince drowning with the ship. Hague reminds me a lot of Michelangelo — lots of twisted, muscular bodies. Even the women look manly.

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Love the rich colors and billowing fabrics here.

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It’s time for a heart-to-heart with grandma. Sheesh. Grandma has a great bod.

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Again, what wonderful details. This is the mer-kingdom’s court ball.

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But the fun and frivolity can’t satisfy the little mermaid. Here, she’s on her way to see the sea witch to bargain for some legs.

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Cover your eyes, children.

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That poor girl.

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What a perfect image of the sisters, when they visit the little mermaid for the last time and give her the enchanted knife.

 

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Here is that clueless prince doing the unthinkable.

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And here’s our last glimpse of the little mermaid before she makes the ultimate sacrifice.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

I know I’ve asked this before, but what’s your take on the original version of The Little Mermaid? Too sad? Appropriately realistic? Metaphoric? I’d love to know.

 

 

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