"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mariana and the Merchild

Mariana and the Merchild: A Folktale from Chile
Author: Caroline Pitcher
Illustrator: Jackie Morris
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN-10: 0802852041
ISBN-13: 978-0802852045

Mariana and the Merchild is the story of a lonely old woman who lives by the sea. Each day she walks along the shore gathering things and longing for a child to cook for. The children of the village are afraid of Mariana and whisper behind her back adding to her sense of isolation. One day after a violent storm, Mariana finds a crab shell in which is hidden a merbaby. She takes the merbaby home and cares for her with all the love in her lonely heart. The merchild’s mother visits Mariana and asks her to care for her child until it is safe for her to take her back to the sea.

The writing is lyrical and the imagery beautiful. I loved the way the author describes the mermaid “Her hair flamed red and her skin shone as if polished by the sun with mother-of-pearl.”

The artwork is beautiful as well. Sweeping watercolors with wonderful earthtones give the true sense of the seashore. I loved the illustration of the waves during the storm and how the artist made them look like hungry wolves. The merchild is beautiful and wispy, a stark contrast to Mariana’s indigenous solidity.

Mariana and the Merchild
is an emotional story of love, loneliness and wish fulfillment. I loved how as the merchild grew, she brought Mariana closer to the village children who would be consolation for Mariana when the time came for the merchild’s mother to come for her. I had expected a sad ending and was very pleasantly surprised at the way it all worked out.


carolinepitcher said...

Thank you for that lovely review of my story. My husband is working abroad and sent me the link back here in Derbyshire.

best wishes, Caroline Pitcher


caroline pitcher said...

P.S. I forgot to say that there is a beautiful new edition of `Mariana and the Merchild' published in January 2007. Same story, diferent illustration on the cover. You can see it on my website, www.carolinepitcher.co.uk

Caroline x