Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
* Illinois Reads STEM Title
Once upon a time, seven tiny duck beaks pecked their way out of their eggs...
but the eighth egg was a little bit different. What emerged wasn't a duck at all. Everyone notices how different he is. He doesn't waddle! His teeth are too big! Feeling ugly and outcast, the "ugly duckling" leaves his family and ventures out on his own. Again and again he tries to make friends, but everyone runs away! Over time he grows bigger and bigger, but still can't seem to find his rightful place. One day he unexpectedly comes across other dinosaurs that look just like him, and he discovers he's really a T. rex!
This humorous and charming take on The Ugly Duckling also includes an author's note with scientifically accurate illustrations of the creatures depicted.
“Andersen’s classic fairy tale gets a prehistoric setting and cast of characters...Backmatter includes detailed scientific drawings of the featured dinosaurs, an artist’s note, bibliography and suggestions for further reading. The author’s note explains how “ducks” and dinosaurs lived in the same time period—recently discovered fossil evidence marks Vegavis iaai as an ancestor to today’s ducks and geese. Kennedy’s cartoonish watercolors nicely balance the ugly “duckling’s” good intentions with his slightly threatening appearance and clumsiness, helping readers empathize with him. Facial characterization excels, from the nasty neighbor who can’t keep her comments to herself to the hope written all over the ugly “duckling’s” face when he tries to befriend a group of Deinonychus. A sure winner for those dino-hungry readers.”
“Combining a favorite fairy tale with up-to-date paleontology, this picture book about the world of dinosaurs stars a young Tyrannosaurus rex who is an outsider until he finds a family at last. “Once upon a time,” a huge duckling explodes from its egg, and as he stomps awkwardly behind his seven perfect little duckling siblings, they reject him as a featherless monster with enormous teeth and jaws. Rejected, he flees into the forest, where he grows so huge that every animal runs from him, including lizards, pteranodons, stegosauruses, and more. Then a majestic Tyrannosaurus rex takes him home, and he finds a family at last with young dinosaurs just like him. Children will enjoy this fractured version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, illustrated in cartoon-style, double-page, watercolor scenes that create expressive characters from the prehistoric animal cast. The extensive appended notes, including details of recent fossil findings, and a bibliography will grab dinosaur buffs and widen this title’s potential for curricular sharing.”