The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland

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The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: The Ugly Duckling returns in this retelling of a timeless fairy tale. Done with pretty illustrations, it may just be the my-first-storybook you are looking for.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Little Tiger Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781848690370

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There are certain fairy tales that you need to know as a child, not only because they are fun stories themselves, but because they inform other stories too. How are you going to know what is happening in future books when they play off a classic; unless you know the classic? Therefore, before embarking on Meta novels that reimagine old stories, get the basics down pat first. How about the story of an unfortunate duckling who was incredibly ugly?

When Mother Duck waited for her eggs to hatch she was looking forward to having five beautiful ducklings. One, Two, Three, Four – everything was going well, but the last egg was much bigger and the duckling that came out was pretty ugly. Despite this, Mother Duck still loved all her children equally and it was up to the Ugly Duckling himself to try and work out why he was different from his siblings. Is there a surprise waiting?

The tale of The Ugly Duckling is a classic tale that every adult probably knows a version of. Mara Alperin has set out to simply retell the classic story in her own way – from the hatching to the bullying, to the final twist! As this is part of a series entitled My First Fairy Tales it makes sense that the book reflects the first principles of the story. There is nothing new to be found here, but to a baby, or toddler, fresh to the world, everything is new, including this story. Alperin does a good job of stepping through the classic fairy tale and there is a nice touch with Mother Duck never questioning why one of here babies is different, they are all beautiful to her.

Without the remit to really shake the story up Alperin does a solid job in the retelling, but to any child over two years old, the book will be a little uninspiring. They will want to delve deeper into stories that twist the legends. Therefore, this is a book that is truly my first fairy tale and it is up to illustrator Sue Eastland to make the book stand out. Here, once again, a solid job is performed. The pictures are colourful, vibrant and cute. They pick up the gentle nature of the story and are fun for a young toddler to look at. However, once again they do not stand out from many other retellings of The Ugly Duckling

This version of The Ugly Duckling is as good as any other when considering purchasing a classic fairy tale, but it just does not have anything to recommend it over another. It will do the job of informing your young toddler about a particular unkempt duck, but they will soon want to move on to more challenging fare.

If you are on the lookout for some fairy tales, then a compendium will get you more bang for your buck; The Orchard Book of Bedtime Fairy Tales by Helen Craig, or perhaps you are interested in one of those books that twists the tales – Nibbles: The Book Monster by Emma Yarlett. You might also appreciate Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb, The Golden Goose by Roberta Angeletti or Beauty and the Beast by Katie Haworth and Dinara Mirtalipova for slightly older children.

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Buy The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin and Sue Eastland at


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