The Mermaid in the Bathtub

The Mermaid in the Bathtub, by Nurit Zarchi - 9781632062116.jpg
The Mermaid in the Bathtub, by Nurit Zarchi - 9781632062116.jpg

The Mermaid in the Bathtub


by Nurit Zarchi

Illustrations by Rutu Modan

Translated from the Hebrew by Tal Goldfajn

Yonder: Restless Books for Young Readers | Ages 5 - 10

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.

Book Details

List Price: $22.99 ISBN: 9781632062116 • Publication: 10/15/2019 • 9” x 11.5” • 36 pages • Children's Fiction / Israeli / Friendship / Fantasy / Accepting Difference • Ages 5 - 10 • Territory: World English • eBook ISBN: 9781632062123

Order from:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Order from Restless

About the Book

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.


View the Illustrations


About Yonder

Yonder is a new imprint from Restless Books devoted to bringing the wealth of great stories from around the globe to English-reading children, middle graders, and young adults. Books from other countries, cultures, viewpoints, and storytelling traditions can open up a universe of possibility, and the wider our view, the more powerfully books enrich and expand us. In an increasingly complex, globalized world, stories are potent vehicles of empathy. We believe it is essential to teach our kids to place themselves in the shoes of others beyond their communities, and instill in them a lifelong curiosity about the world and their place in it. Through publishing a diverse array of transporting stories, Yonder nurtures the next generation of savvy global citizens and lifelong readers.


“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

“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

“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)



Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 12.42.24 PM.png

Nurit Zarchi is an Israeli poet and author for adults and children. Zarchi has published many poems in children’s magazines and over 100 children’s books, poetry, prose and research. Zarchi has received major Israeli awards including the Bialik Prize, 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 Goldfajn joined the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at UMass Amherst in 2017. She earned her Ph.D. in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology from the University of Oxford, and her B.A. in Psychology from the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is the author and editor of several academic works and her research interests include language and emotion, pragmatics and translation, translation theory and multilingualism.