The Ugly Duckling
By Ann Marie Sammataro,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Kids will sympathize with ugly duckling's plight.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Other farmyard creatures (and the humans) are cruel to the duckling.
Violence & Scariness
Hunters shoot at a flock of geese, and a hunting dog confronts the duckling. The duckling vows that he would rather be killed by the swans than suffer any more cruelty.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids will be drawn into the detailed illustrations, and empathize with the forlorn fowl. Positive messages about acceptance abound, and there's nothing here that kids can't handle.
Where to Read
Based on 3 parent reviews
Ugly Duckling Review
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What's the Story?
'I am too ugly even for a dog to eat,' the duckling thought. Jerry Pinkney's poignant text and rich artwork convey the timeless appeal of this tale of hardship and redemption. Anyone who has suffered the sting of ostracism can sympathize with the ugly duckling's plight and will relish the uplifting conclusion.
Is It Any Good?
The author pays homage to Hans Christian Andersen's compassionate tale with this faithful adaptation, an ageless story that speaks across generations with its reaffirming message. In this age of instant gratification, Andersen's tale reminds readers that some things are worth waiting for and that a pleasure deferred (whether by choice or by necessity) is often the sweetest one of all.
Illustrator Jerry Pinkney's descriptive passages resonate with the splendor of nature's beauty. The glowing watercolors, filled with intricate details, make each blade of grass visible, and the delicately drawn, nearly transparent mosquitoes are as ethereal as they are in life. The subtle details incorporated into the scenes -- a frog catching a passing fly at the pond and a tiny mouse perched by a crate in the old woman's cottage -- will encourage children to take another look at this old and familiar story.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the difficulties of being "different" and the pain of being rejected by one's peers. Have you ever been ostracized by others for the way you look? How did it make you feel? Have you ever treated someone else differently because they didn't look or act like you and your friends?
- Author: Hans Christian Andersen
- Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney
- Genre: Fairy Tale
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: William Morrow
- Publication date: January 1, 1999
- Number of pages: 32
- Last updated: June 29, 2015
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