Isadora's latest interpretation of a fairy tale remains mostly loyal to the story line, but its sensual, mosaiclike collages create depth and texture, evoking the essence of an African savanna. The "large and clumsy" duckling, black and gray to the other ducklings' bright yellow, is ostracized by the other animals on the farm. But when a "kind farmer" takes him in, he lives with the farmer's family over the winter. In the spring, he emerges as a lovely swan with inky, blue plumage. A stirring adaptation. Ages 5-8. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Ugly Ducklingby Rachel Isadora
Set in the wilds of Africa, Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora's stunning interpretation of the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale portrays African animals and landscapes with beautiful detail. As the ugly duckling searches for a place where he can fit in, Isadora's vibrant collages capture the beauty in everything from glistening feathers to shimmering… See more details below
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Set in the wilds of Africa, Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora's stunning interpretation of the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale portrays African animals and landscapes with beautiful detail. As the ugly duckling searches for a place where he can fit in, Isadora's vibrant collages capture the beauty in everything from glistening feathers to shimmering sunsets.
Once again, Isadora sets her adaptation in Africa. While faithful to the basic elements of Andersen's story, she softens the bitterness of the duckling's stay with the old woman and her animals, and instead of the harsh treatment originally meted out by the farmer's wife and children, states that "the duckling was showered with kindness." Also less dramatic is the animal's surprise discovery of his own beauty when he is approached by a group of swans. What shines in this telling are the illustrations, all collage spreads executed in oil on palette paper and printed paper. While it may seem unusual for a baboon, monkey, giraffe, and other native African creatures to appear among the farm animals that taunt the duckling, Isadora's brilliant colors and broad brushstrokes beautifully capture the unnamed African setting, where a huge orange sun beats down on lush vegetation and, in a change of season, blue-white icicles hang from bare branches over a frozen lake. A particularly striking spread depicts the forlorn duckling standing apart from a line of African animals, all in silhouette at the water hole, watching a flock of birds take to the skies. Baskets, clothing, headpieces, and jewelry evoke African culture. It may be interesting for children to compare this unusual setting with Jerry Pinkney's (HarperCollins, 1999), a more traditional and beautifully illustrated version.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
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