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Interviews

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Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast ~ Interview with Abigail Halpin | November 2011

Little One Books ~ Interview with Kallie George | October 2011

Cynsations ~ Interview with Kallie George and Abigail Halpin | September 12, 2011

The Wide-Eyed, Legless Musings for the Modern-Day Mermaid ~ Underwater Interview | September 2011


Selected Reviews for The Melancholic Mermaid

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Sirenita The Selkie
Under the Sea Literature

Although this cover portrays a rather depressing storyline, it was the complete opposite. In fact, it was quite acute book! Maude is a beautiful twin-tailed mermaid who meets a human who accepts her for who she is, and I believe that even adults can learn from this story; that we have to accept the features we were born with, and to love ourselves the way we are. This is a lesson children need to learn early, especially women who face image issues throughout their lives. The images were also subtle, yet bright and very whimsical. I loved the image of Maude and her two tails! This is a book that I am definitely going to add to my mer-library. I give this book (*****) 5 stars.

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Publisher's Weekly: Bullying Resources, part of an Anti-Bullying Feature, recommends The Melancholic Mermaid
"In this original fairy tale, two children with physical abnormalities (she a mermaid with two tails, he a boy with webbed fingers) become fast friends when they are both the target of bullies."

Abigail Halpin’s illustrations are positively breathtaking. Her use of colour, space, and contrast are all wonderful to behold and do a remarkable job of highlighting the settings and mood of George’s story. While the scenes on land are depicted in vibrant purples and reds, the seashore is dominated by calm and subtle shades of blue and green. If you are the type to choose a book by its cover, The Melancholic Mermaid should most certainly be a popular choice.

The high quality of the illustrations make The Melancholic Mermaid a great book for beginning readers to grow into, and it will be ideally suited for children transitioning from picture books into shorter chapter books.

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Deakin Review
George’s poetic rhythms perfectly capture the lulling melancholy of the seashore. At times, she dances the line between poetry and prose, evoking the rolling tides of a calm day at the beach. Of particular note is her command of alliteration, which when well-executed, rarely fails to captivate children and draw them into a fairy tale world.

Abigail Halpin’s illustrations are positively breathtaking. Her use of colour, space, and contrast are all wonderful to behold and do a remarkable job of highlighting the settings and mood of George’s story. While the scenes on land are depicted in vibrant purples and reds, the seashore is dominated by calm and subtle shades of blue and green. If you are the type to choose a book by its cover, The Melancholic Mermaid should most certainly be a popular choice.

The high quality of the illustrations make The Melancholic Mermaid a great book for beginning readers to grow into, and it will be ideally suited for children transitioning from picture books into shorter chapter books.

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Little One Books - reviewed by Audra
The Melancholic Mermaid is the innovative tale of two misfits learning to appreciate what makes them unique. The delicately detailed illustrations are filled with the bright and varied colors of the sea. The images are bound to captivate your child and encourage them to spend time studying the book on their own. The writing flows poetically with alliteration and new words (like shunned, engulfed, gawk, raucous, anemone, recoil, embark, and more!) which are bound to intrigue your child and encourage learning new vocabulary words. Take the time to define the new words and discuss how they might be used. You will be surprised how quickly your child picks them up and uses them in their everyday speech. The creativity of the story will lead to fun conversation with your child. Did they know that mermaids cry bubbles, but they also release bubbles from their mouth when they laugh? Were they surprised to learn that Maude spoke a sea language instead of English? What else does your child think mermaids may do differently than humans? My five year-old niece Emily loved staring at the illustrations. She liked pointing out the differences between Maude and Ariel from The Little Mermaid Disney movie, and finally decided they must be from different oceans since Ariel speaks English and Maude doesn’t. And after much thought, she decided that she liked Maude much better because she was very brave and a really good friend.

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The Accidental Frock blogspot
My youngest and I typically check out about 40 books at a time from our local library. She is a massive book lover. We encountered one of our favorites during the most recent visit; a title that made it on the all-time-favorites list for me and my nearly 9-yr.old. A beautiful story.

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The Book Bag – reviewed by Ruth Ng
I really liked this story. It has a feel of a traditional fairytale to it but at the same time seems up to date, relevant to children's lives now. Both Maude and Tony experience bullying because of what they look like, and their one wish is to have a true friend. With strength and courage they do, ultimately, overcome adversity to escape.

The epilogue to the book has a note that it is to be read only by those curious to know what happened next which I rather liked. We did read it, of course, and you'll be pleased to know it's all very satisfactory!

The language in the book is lovely. At the beginning the text immediately feels atmospheric and magical as we read deep in the sea, where whales drift like dark clouds above a coral kingdom, a beautiful merbaby was born with not one, but two shimmering tails. It's lovely to read aloud and the story is well-structured.

The illustrations are beautiful, full of wonderful ocean colours, beautiful seaside skies and appealingly drawn characters. One image, across a double page, depicts poor Maude, sad and lonely and sitting at the bottom of the sea, her face in her hands. The sea is a wide expanse above her and, far away on the surface, there is a tiny fishing boat emphasising her distance from everyone and everything.

I love the scale and space, the drama of the pictures. They compliment the text beautifully, capturing that magical fairytale feeling. As it's relatively long for a picture book it doesn't immediately seem like something to read aloud, but I shared it with my four year old daughter and she sat, rapt throughout, for the whole story. I think if you have a patient younger child then it's a wonderfully rich story to share with them, but equally it would be a lovely story for mid-primary aged children to read by themselves.

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CM Magazine, 4/4 stars, Highly Recommended:
The story is divided into three chapters: the first about Maude, the second about Tony and the third about their escape. Although the outcome is somewhat predictable, the story is told beautifully, and it is impossible not to want the predictable ending. The story shares many fairy tale qualities, and Maude and Tony are the prince and princess who find each other in the end.

The Melancholic Mermaid is a unique and beautiful story of rejection, friendship, and young love. The watercolour illustrations by Abigail Halpin are stunning and complement the enchanting story perfectly. Various shades of blue and green are used to help establish the mood as the story progresses. The compelling artwork is one of the best features of this book.

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ForeWord Magazine Reviews:
When a young mermaid with two tails gets caught in a fisherman’s net and can’t get loose, she learns how harsh land-dwellers can be. Prized by her family for her unique beauty and superior strength, she’s instead exploited at a circus sideshow by her captor. At the point of ultimate despair, a young man with webbed hands who’s also been shunned comes to her rescue. Of course, love and trust blossom as Maude and Tony make their way together throughout two worlds, into neither of which they easily inhabit. This unusually smart and sensitive story doesn’t shy away from revealing the lonely facts of life for misfits. Ages four to eight. (April)

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The Melancholic Mermaid
Starred Review, Quill and Quire, Jan/Feb 2011


Kallie George’s The Melancholic Mermaid, an original fairy tale written and illustrated as elegantly as a class one, is about being cast out and bullied, and the search to find someone who understands you. Initially, the story seems to hew closely to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. While Andersen’s young misfit Ariel longs to live on land, George’s young misfit Maude longs to fit in at home. Born with two tails, Maude endues endless teasing by the other merchildren, similar to the way Ariel is mocked for her obsession with the human world.

But whereas The Little Mermaid is a love story, this new fairy tale is one of friendship: Maude, captured by a fisherman and caged in the circus, befriends fellow outcast Tony, a young human boy with webbed fingers. The story of Maude and Tony’s attempts to escape from the circus (as well as their own pain) is told through both characters’ perspectives. Their peers may mock them, but the two are, at their cores, just regular children longing to fit in.

The whimsical writing style and beautiful illustrations blend perfectly. Illustrator Abigail Halpin deftly depicts all of the book’s settings, and the greatly detailed underwater images truly immerse the reader in this fantastic world. Make room next to The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. The Melancholic Mermaid deserves a spot on every child’s bookshelf.

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Kirkus Review:
A mermaid is born with two tails, and a boy is born with webbed fingers in this lengthy original fairy tale. They suffer the tribulations that are the lot of the different: ridicule and shunning. Neither has friends, and they are both delivered unto a circus sideshow presided over by the shrill and heartless Ring Mistress (drawn with marcel wave and pinched mouth). The two begin to wither in their own ways, until fate draws them into close association and they discover their similarities; not just the webbed fingers but something deeper and elementally innocent binds them. George’s narrative is ethereal and formal, with a voiceover quality that invests the artwork with cinematic flow. Halpin’s curious combination of aggressively cherubic, if somewhat characterless, faces and emotive, atmospheric settings benefits from this. It says much for the writing that it carries the reader along, despite the bonding of the mermaid and the boy being foregone, their escape destined (though that’s a drawn-out affair in which the illustrations can’t corral all the action). The epilogue has an unexpected, romantic twist—heroic, adventurous, idealized—that bodes well for a sequel. (Picture book. 6-9)

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The Faerie Magazine – Reviewed by Jennifer Carson
I have come to expect visually enchanting books from Simply Read Books and The Melancholic Mermaid is no exception. The whimsical watercolor illustrations are a perfect match for the well-written, lyrical prose. The Melancholic Mermaid is a perfect read-aloud for ages 4 and up, or for those who have always wished to meet a mermaid.

 


The Melancholic Mermaid

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The Melancholic MermaidWebbed hand. Bold plan. Swimming.