The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling

By (author) Hans Christian Andersen , Illustrated by Bernadette Watts , By (author) Bernadette Watts

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Ever since its publication in 1845, Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling has been a favorite with generations of children around the world. Today's youngsters will be equally moved by the hapless ugly duckling, who, ridiculed and rejected by all, suffers terrible hardships. And they will celebrate along with him when he finally emerges triumphant as the most beautiful swan of all!Bernadette Watts's detailed illustrations chronicle the bittersweet story with charm and poignancy.

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  • Hardback | 32 pages
  • 220.5 x 293.4 x 103.1mm | 408.07g
  • 01 Sep 2000
  • North-South Books
  • New York
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • colour and b&w illustrations
  • 0735813884
  • 9780735813885

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Review text

First published over 150 years ago, The Ugly Duckling remains a favourite with children throughout the world. The story of the unhappy, rejected duckling who endures terrible suffering before being transformed into a beautiful swan strikes a chord with all those who have ever been mocked and gives them hope for a brighter future. Bernadette Watts does not baulk from recounting the duckling's grief at his rejection by everyone, even the duck he takes to be his mother. This is a harsh tale and the trials the duckling endures before becoming a swan are both physically arduous and emotionally crippling. Again and again he is rejected: for being ugly, for not laying eggs, just for being different. Watts's illustrations are exquisitely detailed, each delicately coloured page invoking a tenderness for the suffering duckling. This is not a sentimental story and she has resisted the temptation to indulge in chocolate-box images of sunny days and thatched cottages. The wind is ever-present, bending the corn, sending clouds scudding across the sky; the rain drives down. The duckling is at the mercy of Mother Nature herself. As for all truly great traditional stories there is a bleakness at the heart of this tale - the ugly duckling turns into a swan, but does that excuse the behaviour of others towards him? Watts does not shy away from this: at the end of her adaptation she comments that where you are born doesn't matter - it's what you are inside that counts. Ages 4 - 7 years. (Kirkus UK)

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