The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Tale

Overview

Once upon a time, seven tiny duck beaks pecked their way out of their eggs, but the eighth egg was a little bit different. What emerged wasn't a duck at all—he was a dinosaur! 

Everyone notices how different he is. He doesn't waddle! His teeth are too big! Feeling ugly and outcast, the dinosaur duckling leaves his family and ventures out on his own. Again and again he tries to make friends, but everyone runs away! Over time he grows bigger and bigger but still can't seem to...

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Overview

Once upon a time, seven tiny duck beaks pecked their way out of their eggs, but the eighth egg was a little bit different. What emerged wasn't a duck at all—he was a dinosaur! 

Everyone notices how different he is. He doesn't waddle! His teeth are too big! Feeling ugly and outcast, the dinosaur duckling leaves his family and ventures out on his own. Again and again he tries to make friends, but everyone runs away! Over time he grows bigger and bigger but still can't seem to find his rightful place. One day he unexpectedly comes across other dinosaurs that look just like him, and he discovers he's really a T. rex! 

This humorous and charming take on The Ugly Duckling also includes an author's note about the dinosaurs depicted and the early ancestors of modern ducks who lived side by side, and features scientifically accurate illustrations of the creatures. 

Praise for Ugly Duckling Dinosaur
“Facial characterization excels. A sure winner for those dino-hungry readers.” –Kirkus Reviews 

“The extensive appended notes, including details of recent fossil findings, and a bibliography will grab dinosaur buffs and widen this title’s potential for curricular sharing.” –Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
This adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's tale depicts a Tyrannosaurus Rex as the "ugly duckling." Born among a family of ducks, the dinosaur is confused about his identity and why he does not look like the ducklings that are his siblings. The mother duck is loving and supportive, despite the dinosaur's obvious differences from her offspring. In the swamp, he tries to make friends with the non-ducks, only to be rejected by them as well. Even other species of dinosaurs he encounters on land reject him. It is not until he meets a mother Tyrannosaurus Rex that he experiences a sense of belonging and attachment. Once the mother adopts him into her family of young dinosaurs, he is "a duckling no more." Bold, cartoon-like illustrations will capture young readers' attention, and the eager expressions with which the dinosaur approaches new friends make him a likeable character. At the end of the book, the Author's Note contains reference material on the dinosaurs and plants in the story, including a bibliography and suggestions for further reading. Like Andersen's tale, this story brings up some interesting questions. How do we define and recognize beauty? Should we identify ourselves primarily with people who look like us? This book could spark significant discussions with young readers about beauty and diversity. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—When Mama Duck's recalcitrant egg finally hatches, everyone finds the baby's sharp claws, large teeth, and swooshing tail a puzzling sight. Realizing he is different, the ugly duckling heads out into his prehistoric world. There, after trying to make friends with lizards, turtles, and other creatures, he comes upon Mother Tyrannosaurus rex, who welcomes him home. This unusual takeoff on a much-retold Andersen tale is hampered by overly exaggerated facial expressions and harsh colors. However, if read aloud, the dialogue and variant font styles (some in color) may give rise to vocal responses—especially from dinosaur enthusiasts. Of more interest may be the appended two-page author's note that includes scientific paintings and information about the dinosaurs, flora, and fauna mentioned in the story. However, young children will probably need adult interpretation to understand the back matter.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Kirkus Reviews

Andersen's classic fairy tale gets a prehistoric setting and cast of characters. When her eighth egg finally hatches, late, mother duck and her seven ducklings are shocked at his rather different appearance—he is a T. Rex, not a Vegavis iaai, as they are. Even a mother's love is not enough to assuage his awareness of his difference, so he runs away. After countless encounters with other creatures fleeing at the sight of him, he finally meets a kindly mother T. Rex who sets him straight and takes him in. Backmatter includes detailed scientific drawings of the featured dinosaurs, an artist's note, bibliography and suggestions for further reading. The author's note explains how "ducks" and dinosaurs lived in the same time period—recently discovered fossil evidence marks Vegavis iaai as an ancestor to today's ducks and geese. Kennedy's cartoonish watercolors nicely balance the ugly "duckling's" good intentions with his slightly threatening appearance and clumsiness, helping readers empathize with him. Facial characterization excels, from the nasty neighbor who can't keep her comments to herself to the hope written all over the ugly "duckling's" face when he tries to befriend a group of Deinonychus. A sure winner for those dino-hungry readers. (Fractured fairy tale. 4-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810997394
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,416,178
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Cheryl Bardoe

Cheryl Bardoe is a former senior project manager of exhibitions at the Field Museum in Chicago. She is the author of Gregor Mendel and Mammoths and Mastodons and lives in Chicago. Doug Kennedy has illustrated a number of books, including the Pirate Pete series. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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