The Ugly Duckling (Caldecott Honor Book)
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A gorgeous, Caldecott Honor-winning version of the classic story
For over one hundred years The Ugly Duckling has been a childhood favorite, and Jerry Pinkney’s spectacular adaptation brings it triumphantly to new generations of readers.
With keen emotion and fresh vision, the acclaimed artist captures the essence of the tale’s timeless appeal: The journey of the awkward little bird—marching bravely through hecklers, hunters, and cruel seasons—is an unforgettable survival story; this blooming into a graceful swan is a reminder of the patience continuously necessary to discover true happiness. Splendid watercolors set in the lush countryside bring the drama to life in this hardcover picture book.
Three-time Caldecott Honor artist and four-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, Jerry Pinkney doesn’t disappoint with this lovely, old-fashioned, richly textured watercolor adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling. The mother duck knew from the very beginning that one of her babies would be different from the rest… the sixth egg was large and oddly shaped. When it in the end hatches that summer, she thinks the “monstrous big duckling” must be a turkey chick! Other ducks are appalled by the ugly duckling, and he is chased, pecked, and kicked aside. When he can’t stand it anymore, he runs away from the pond, eventually taking refuge in the warm cottage of an old woman with a cat and a hen. Missing the delicious feeling of the water too much to stay, on the other hand, he heads out again into the wide, increasingly cold autumn world.
At some point, he heard a sound of whirring wings, and up in the air he saw a flock of birds flying high. They were as bright as the snow that had fallen throughout the night, and their long necks were stretched southward. Oh, if only he could go with them! But what sort of companion could he be to those beautiful beings?”
At last, after a hard, cold winter–and plenty of the kind of adventures no one in reality wants to have–the duckling sees the same flock of birds he’d seen in the sky such a lot of months ago. He decides he will follow them, fairly dramatically preferring to be killed by them reasonably than suffer any longer “cold and hunger and cruelty.” Much to his surprise, they welcome him! And when he looks for his dull, awkward reflection in the water, he sees a beautiful swan instead. Children who feel ostracized, even for the tiniest of differences, may shed a few sympathetic tears for the ugly duckling. And no doubt, it was Andersen’s wish to give them the hope of At some point finding their own peaceful place. (Ages 3 to 9) –Karin Snelson
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