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The Mermaid in the Bathtub

The Mermaid in the Bathtub

Current price: $22.99
Publication Date: October 15th, 2019
Restless Books
Usually Ships in 1 to 5 Days


The Mermaid in the Bathtub is a charming, gorgeously retro retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story “The Little Mermaid,” by beloved Israeli author and illustrator duo Nurit Zarchi and Rutu Modan.

One day, a resolutely ordinary young man named Mr. Whatwilltheysay returns home to find Grain-of-Sand, a mermaid, waiting for him in his favorite armchair. Despite his objections, the two embark on a series of very watery adventures as he tries to get rid of her. But ultimately the thought of being seen with half a fish is simply too much for Mr. Whatwilltheysay to bear—what would people say? So broken-hearted Grain-of-Sand returns to the sea in his bathtub, leaving Mr. Whatwilltheysay to resume his pedestrian existence. Mr. Whatwilltheysay soon finds that his beloved landlubber life, however, lacks the splash and shimmer (and bathtub) of his good times with Grain-of-Sand—and acting against all his instincts, he sets off to sea to find her. 

About the Author

Nurit Zarchi is an Israeli poet and author of books for adults and children. Zarchi has published many poems in children’s magazines and more than one hundred works including children’s books, poetry, prose, and research. Zarchi has received major Israeli awards, including the Bialik Prize and the Ze'ev Prize (four times), and she was twice the winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for her literary work.

Rutu Modan is an Israeli illustrator and comic book artist. She is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and former editor of the Hebrew edition of MAD Magazine. She received a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for her book Exit Wounds in 2008.

Tal Goldfajnis an Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguisticsat the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds a PhD in General Linguistics from the University of Oxford. She is the author of, among others books, Word Order and Time in Biblical Hebrew Narrative (Oxford University Press) and a co-editor of a special issue on Translation and History in Latin America published by the Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe (Tel Aviv University). Her translations of plays by Nelson Rodrigues (from Brazilian Portuguese) and Sergi Belbel (from Spanish and Catalan) have been published by Asia Publishers and staged in Tel Aviv.

Praise for The Mermaid in the Bathtub

“Grain-of-Sand and her witty responses are a delight throughout the tale, forcing both Mr. Whatwilltheysay and readers to think about what they consider to be ‘normal.’ The plot is easily followed, and the vocabulary is age-appropriate and properly nautically themed. Modan’s detailed, expressive, and child-friendly illustrations draw readers right into the story and show them a whole new world. The illustrations also work with the story, helping to show the unsaid thoughts and perspectives of each character. Goldfajn has done a great job at translating this story in such a way that the content and wordplay are not lost. Together [they] lead readers right to a treasure trove of perspective, wonder, and a little bit of adventure…. An excellent translation and tale about accepting others and embracing change.”
School Library Journal
— School Library Journal

“Inspired by mermaid legends, this Israeli import has a wry humor.... The surrealist illustrations feature intense colors on very shiny paper; they will draw everyone’s attention, children and adults alike. Absurdist and realistic at the same time, this Israeli mermaid tale requires a dry sense of humor.”
Kirkus Reviews
— Kirkus Reviews

“This surreal reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s 'The Little Mermaid' begins when Mr. Whatwilltheysay is surprised to find ‘a mermaid sitting in his best armchair.’ The mermaid, called Grain-of-Sand, has blue curls, floods Whatwilltheysay’s apartment, and sings strange songs…. When Grain-of-Sand leaves, taking the bathtub, after hearing Whatwilltheysay’s litany of concerns about her presence, he slowly realizes what he has lost and goes to find her with an umbrella in his hand, a seashell in his pocket, and a flying fish for company. Modan’s bright, delightfully deadpan illustrations, which offer a wealth of details and patterns, match the story’s matter-of-fact absurdities and abrupt swivels in action, helping to create a beguiling oddity for readers.”
Publishers Weekly
— Publishers Weekly

“All kinds of kooky details fill the pages, and that flying fish with wings and legs may be my favorite unnamed character of all time. It’s wackadoodle and I love it. Hand it to the mermaid obsessed kiddos. It’ll blow their little minds.”
—Betsy Bird, Fuse 8
— Fuse 8

“One of the more unique picture books both in content and illustrations that is both profound and articulate. Quite possibly more geared for adults. This is a complex contemporary reimagined fairytale with a refreshing twist that shows the power of transformation when opposites attract.”
—Jessica DeHart, Neill Public Library (Pullman, WA)