Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Ugly Duckling

Springtime down by the pond brings a parade of baby ducks and geese. It's a great time to take out the old classic by Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling. I love the picture book version illustrated and adapted by Jerry Pinkney which won a Caldecott Honor award in 2000. The illustrations are rich and detailed. I think my favorites are the end papers. The beginning of the book, the first set of "endpapers" starts the tale off with the picture of a mother duck swimming with her babies right behind her. The final set of "endpapers" show the beautiful swan swimming in the pond.

Donna Jo Napoli has adapted this story into a "chapter" book, called Ugly. She has set the tale in Tasmania and made it very funny. It would be a wonderful read aloud for younger children, or an appropriate read for children in fourth and fifth grade. Tasmania is near New Zealand and Australia, just in case you are wondering why there is a kangaroo on the cover of this book. I highly recommend it!

Another book with a duckling is Jacquelyn Mitchard's Rosalie, My Rosalie: The Tale of a Duckling. Mrs. Brown read this one and thought it perfect for young people in grades 2-4. She loved the story of a nine-year-old girl yearning for a pet that she finally has when her father rescues a duckling. A story of love, attachment, and learning to let go. A book for animal lovers.
Joyce Laiosa

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