Henri Matisse s massive and joyous cutout work, The Parakeet and the Mermaid, is the basis for this delightful children s book about the unlikely friendship between a mermaid and a parakeet. Henri Matisse once said, What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter. It s no wonder his works are loved by children everywhere. In this charming book, Vanessa Hie and Veronique Massenot create a world based on Matisse s vision, in which a mermaid is thrust out of the sea by a massive storm. Stranded in a tree, not knowing how she can return to her home without legs, she meets a parakeet who is so moved by her plight he finds a way to help her. Vanessa Hie s gorgeous, deeply hued illustrations incorporate the shapes and colors found in Matisse s original masterpiece, which is reproduced at the end of the book. Massenot s simple but profound story of bravery and friendship is a delight to read. Together, the words and pictures tell a timeless story, while introducing young people to Matisse s artistry."