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    Grade 3-6. A poor but gifted musician draws the attention of the King of the Sea, who invites him to visit his palace under the sea. The ruler then becomes so taken with the young man"s music that he insists Sadko stay and marry one of his daughters. The Sea Queen, however, whispers to Sadko that if he kisses or embraces his sea-wife, he will never be able to return home again. That evening he lies next to his bride, the Princess Volkhova, but never touches her. The next morning he awakes beside the River Volkhov in his beloved city of Novgorod. He becomes a rich merchant, marries, and raises a family, but whenever he plays his music near the river, he thinks he sees the Princess Volkhova raising her head out of the water to listen. This retelling retains the flavor of Old Russia. Shepard includes detailed notes about the story, his sources, and a brief pronunciation guide. Spirin"s full-page watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations are lavish, highly decorative, and somewhat formal in their execution. Done in a palette of sepia-toned browns, reds, and blues, the pictures are highly stylized and reminiscent of a late 19th-century illustrative style. The depiction of the Sea King"s family is interesting while some of the undersea creatures are depicted as mermaids, the Sea King and his family wear traditional Russian dress and have legs and feet. Overall, this is a fascinating spin on mermaid/human interaction and should appeal to an older picture-book audience.?Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
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  • Gennady Spirin
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  • Aaron Shepard
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미디어리뷰 / 독자리뷰