Leo Lionni’s exquisite collage works are ideally suited for Mermaid’s unique approach to stage adaptation. The three Caldecott Honor books Mermaid has chosen for its tribute, SWIMMY, FREDERICK and INCH BY INCH, are among Lionni’s most beloved works. Their images are strikingly beautiful, and their texts are whimsical yet wistful. Swimmy is a tiny insignificant fish in the vast ocean who uses ingenuity to fend off danger. Frederick, a mouse who is a poet from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, makes everyday life an artful experience. The story of Inch by Inch features a lovable inchworm who is very proud of his facility for measuring absolutely everything, including a robin’s tail, a flamingo’s neck, a toucan’s beak, a heron’s legs, and a nightingale’s song. All these creatures provide wonderful scope for translation to puppet theatre through the gentle storytelling style which has brought international acclaim to Mermaid Theatre. The approach to staging will follow in the elegant tradition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Guess How Much I Love You.

Director / Production Designer – Jim Morrow
Composer – Steven Naylor
Narration – Richard Donat
Scenic Painter – Sarah Haydon Roy

Associate Designers – Deborah MacLean & Struan Robertson

Best for Grades Pre-K – 3 and Family Programming
60 minutes – No Intermission
Sensory Friendly or Relaxed performances available

Photography by Margo Ellen Gesser


  • Puppetry
  • Visual Art
  • Literature
  • Poetry
  • Rhyming
  • The Seasons 
  • Weather
  • Measurement
  • Earthworms
  • Oceans Life
  • Social Emotional Learning
About the Company
Technical Information
Teacher Resource Guide
Relaxed Performance Information
About Leo Lionni
Full video is available upon request