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The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling

About the Book

Author: Mara Alperin

Age Range: 0-2 Years 3-5 Years 5-7 Years

Publisher: Little Tiger Press

Price: £6.99, paperback

Review

Hans Christian Anderson’s original fairy tale about a strange, scruffy ‘duckling’ who is rejected by the birds and animals around him because he is different, but grows up to discover that he is really a beautiful swan, has been told and retold countless times – and through all kinds of creative interpretations – across the years. In truth, the moral that Anderson intended to deliver with his story cracks somewhat under the weight of a critical, 21st century reading (after all, the homely little bird is only really accepted ‘for himself’ once he’s demonstrated external as well as inner beauty – and by his similarly attractive peers, to boot); but this endearing and gentle narration, illustrated with warmth and charm, steers lightly around such concerns by focusing on the tender bond between the mother duck and her odd-looking, harsh-voiced, clumsy baby from the start. It’s clear that she loves him exactly as he is, and even his siblings stop being mean and start to worry when he’s nowhere to be found as the family gets ready to fly south for the winter. This is a story about family, friendship and love, not aesthetics; and it’s delightful.

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