Shulamith Levey Oppenheim


new work

The Sea King

The Sea King

Illustrated by Stefan Czerrecki
2002, Interlink Books

The Sea King lives deep under the sea in an exquisite crystal palace. He rarely leaves his halls, except to search out a human victim. One day, the Sea King does a very big favor for a king from the land above. In return, however, he extracts a promise. And without realizing it, the king of the land has promised the Sea King his newborn son...

This wonderful tale contains many rich elements of folklore--a talking eagle who can do magical deeds, a frightening witch with iron teeth, a kind and honest prince, and twelve beautiful maidens who can turn into swans. These threads are masterfully woven into a dramatic and stunningly illustrated fairy tale, one which readers of all ages will enjoy.


Stefan Czernecki's illustrations for The Sea King (Trade Wind Books, Pounds 9.95) are spectacular, with images inspired by the stylised forms of Russian folk art. The story, by Jane Yolen and Shulamith Oppenheim, introduces Morskoi Tsar in his palace of crystal beneath the sea. It has an abundance of folkloric elements offering plenty of scope for intertextual forays: a talking animal, a promise easier to give than to keep, 12 shape-altering princesses, a prince, three tests, and a witch. -- London Times Literary Supplement

"Combining several elements of Russian folklore, the authors create an engaging tale using old motifs in new ways... The bright, deep colors of Russian Folk art... inform the pictures, making pleasing patterns... Lots of folkloric elements neatly combined and pictures bright enough for group reading create a nice addition to Yolen's huge canon..." -- Kirkus Reviews