Book Review: The Ugly Duckling

Rating: ★★★★★

Hans Christian Anderson’s story tells of a swan hatched into a family of ducks, who lives his life trying to fit into a situation where he doesn’t belong.  When this “ugly duckling” finds himself in the company of swans and realizes that he is really one of them, he understands that all the qualities which caused him to be rejected were actually signs of his true character.  This story lends a hope-filled perspective on social difficulties, suggesting that may be seeds of greatness even in the most awkward individuals.  It brings a gentle moral lesson both to those who are ostracized and those who are tempted to judge others by their appearances.

Jerry Pinkney’s adaptation brings the story into a visual splendor, with lushly detailed watercolor paintings full of drama and life.  His text is smoothly written, although heavily abridged from the original version.  It’s a perfect adaptation for children who are not quite ready to transition from picture books to chapter books, because its visual representation of the story establishes the story line so vividly; reading the full text version at a later time will be easy if they can picture Pinkney’s scenes in their minds.

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Publication Information: Pinkney, Jerry. Ugly Duckling, The. Anderson, Hans Christian (Original Author). Morrow Junior. 1999.
Categories: 5 Stars, Age 04-08, Caldecott Honor
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Posted on August 14, 2010


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