The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling

by 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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.

Booklist
. . . many young children will find this vividly appealing.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Isadora continues her retelling of traditional tales placed in non-specific African settings with the hatching of an unusual egg to a family of ducklings. The "child" that emerges is not like any of his siblings; he is so ugly and clumsy that all the other animals tease him. One day, he leaves, surviving hunters and a menacing dog, still laughed at by other animals. Spotting a flock of beautiful birds, he longs to be as beautiful. During the cold winter he is rescued by a kind farmer. In the spring, he is startled by his changed reflection in the pond. He realizes with joy that he is one of those beautiful birds he admired, as they welcome him into their group. Isadora's collage illustrations use oil paints, printed paper, and palette paper to produce textured surfaces that add dramatic highlights to the story. The settings with multicolored vegetation, a sun with agitated rays, a huge toothy dog, African costumes, and so forth, fill the double-page scenes with visual excitement. The elegant black swan that appears for the happy ending exudes spiritual as well as physical beauty. The lesson of the original remains. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399250293
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/14/2009
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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