The Little Mermaid Book Cover

Parents and Grandparents, Please Read the Original Versions of Classic Children’s Stories

Why the original versions are so much better than their contemporary counterfeits

Kari Jenson Gold in First Things reminds us of the difference between children’s books filled with joy, magic and beauty and the ones written these days to promote an agenda or sell a product. It may take a little extra effort to find the good ones, but it is worth it. Discriminating taste can start young.  

“Parents and grandparents, please read this. Pursue something good and beautiful for the sake of pursuing it. Read more old books with your children.

Compare two versions of the beginning of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, one faithful to the original and translated by Neil Philip, the other taken from Disney’s famous movie and book.

  1. Far out to sea the water is as blue as the petals of the loveliest cornflower and as clear as the purest glass; but is deep, deeper than any anchor can reach. Countless church steeples would have to be piled one on top of the other to stretch from the sea bed to the surface. That’s where the sea folk live. 
  2. Ariel was sixteen, the age when a mermaid was supposed to be thinking about marrying a merboy and settling down. But Ariel had other things on her mind.”

Guess which is which.

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