published Frances Lincoln 2000
Mariana and the Merchild a folk tale from Chile,
by Caroline Pitcher
illustrated by Jackie Morris
(also published in Denmark, Sweden, USA and Canada, Korea)
Old Mariana longs for friendship, but she is feared by the village
children and fearful of the hungry sea wolves hiding in the sea caves
near her hut.
Then one day she finds a treasure, a sea-child hidden in a crab shell.
At once she loves the child more than anything. But she knows in her
heart that one day she will have to give the child back to her mother
and to the sea.
This is a warm tale of love and friendship. It was a beautiful story
to work on, rich and simple, and I soon found that I became very fond
of the characters in the book. The Merchild was modeled on my own daughter,
who was then a baby and has since grown up to swim in rock pools like
a strange sea creature herself, with her hair tangling with seaweed.
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