Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch by Serena Valentino
Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch is the third in Valentino’s Villians series. This edition retells the story of the Little Mermaid but, from Ursula, the jaded sea witch’s perspective.
Ursula once lived on land in a seaside village with a loving human fisherman father that adopted her as his own. However, due to Ursula’s brother Tritan’s thirst for power, something tragic happens that changes her from the humble girl of a seaside town, to the malicious, vengeful sea witch we are familiar with through Disney’s adaptations.
Valentino skillfully combines the original Grimm’s fairy tale, the Disney adaptation, as well as borrows from other avenues of folklore and mythology. Creating a spellbinding tale that speaks for itself.
There are always multiple sides to a story, and Valentino explores that through her Villians series. Readers will enjoy identifying the different myths, Shakespearian references (the Odd Sisters), and will recognize the different characters they’ve run across in other fairy tales and Disney adaptations. Though the third in the series, it is not necessary to read the previous two in order to follow the narrative, though it does help. This fresh spin on Ursula’s story will appeal to reluctant readers, fans of fairy retellings, fans of the original Disney adaptations, and even adults that have nostalgia for Disney’s Little Mermaid, but crave more of the backstory. Poor Unfortunate Soul will make a great addition to middle grade library collections, school and public.
(Originally Published in VOYA 10/2016)