The Ugly Ducklingby Lorinda Bryan Cauley, Lorinda B. Cauley
Large, full-color, richly detailed illustrations characterize this retelling of the famous Hans Christian Andersen tale.
The classic story of an awkward, unattractive duckling who hatches into a family of downy little ducks is told in a lightly humorous way. The mother duck, tired of sitting on the nest, is happy when the eggs hatch, but one large egg takes longer that the others. When it does hatch, the mother duck must admit he does not look like her other ducklings. She decides she will raise him and teach him to go into the water no matter what it takes. The ugly duckling is laughed at and picked on by all the other creatures. One day he sees a flock of magnificent white birds fly by and he is strangely moved. He aches to join them. After a bitter winter he sees the birds again and approaches them. He wants to be with them even if they think he is ugly. Of course, they welcome him, for he has blossomed into a beautiful white swan. The ultimate lesson is rather sad, as it indicates that beauty is necessary for happiness. The collage paintings accompanying the text are unusual and add another dimension to the story. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
This beautifully illustrated retelling of Andersen's classic tale has some minor changes in the text but overall maintains the integrity of the original; in fact, the retelling really seems unnecessary especially since there are no source notes and there are already many good translations of this story available. It is the mixed-media illustrations that will likely intrigue readers; the art combines painting with lace to achieve a textural and patterned appearance. A stunning spread shows a close-up of a goose with wings stretched wide that impressively depict distinct and realistic-looking feathers as it flies over a serene country landscape. Each page is suffused with color, predominantly bright shades of green, blue, and brown, and the bold font stands out clearly from the background. Small images are interspersed with the text-eggs cracking open, a dog rushing into the marsh, and a raven perched on a fence post. There are many other lovely visual interpretations available, including those by Jerry Pinkney (Morrow, 1999) and Robert Ingpen (Minedition, 2005).
Kirsten CutlerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
Stephen Mitchell is a renowned writer and translator whose award-winning books for young readers include THE WISHING BONE, THE NIGHTINGALE, and THE TINDERBOX.
Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher are an award-winning illustration team who have worked together for more than twenty years, illustrating books by authors as diverse as John Scieszka, Garrison Keillor, Margaret Wise Brown, and Dr. Suess. Their unusual collaborative method allows both artists to conceive, draw, design, and paint. For THE UGLY DUCKLING, they’ve chosen a stunning collage style. They live in Minneapolis.
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