A Spanish aristocrat, Major Michelangelo Monday, has spent a lifetime devising clever war machinery. In retirement, his creative urge persists, spurred Dy love for a skinny, barebosomed mermaid who points out that they're incompatible. Undeterred, the major contrives first a submarine (""How are we going to get married if you are locked up inside a tin can?""), then some innovative surgery that enables the match, which proves to be unhappy. This very European, and rather adult, satirical fable received ""the national prize for illustration by Spain's Ministry of Culture""; the art, which makes sly references to Spanish greats from VelÃ¡zquez to Dali, is skillfully executed, including both intriguing calligraphic drawings and whimsical surreal paintings of the many fantastical inventions. A handsome, offbeat volume for a few special readers.