The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
|The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: Five of the ugliest animals set out on a fun and educational adventure to discover if anyone out there could possibly find them attractive.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: September 2017|
|Publisher: Alison Green Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Creating a popular character is a double edged sword; one side is buckets of cold hard cash, the other is people demanding that you trot out the same old stuff. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler created the behemoth that is The Gruffalo and you could forgive them for producing countless books in this series, but they don't. Anyone who is a fan of the pairing will already know that their other work is also excellent; just ask Superworm or Room on the Broom. This is an established author/illustrator partnership and any new outing from them is exciting. Even if that is an outing about really ugly animals.
The plains of the savannah are home to some of the world's most majestic creatures, but this is not a book about them. This is a book about the other animals that don't always get the limelight; the dumpy, the lumpy and the smelly. When five less than pretty animals get together they all decide that they are the ugliest creatures around. Can anyone love a face as hideous as theirs?
The Ugly Five is a lovely book that combines some hidden education with an uplifting story. The narrative is a simple one; you meet a particular creature and observe their features and then they meet another similarly ugly pal. This goes on until the titular five are together. If this had been the entire plot, the story would have been too dry for most young people as there is almost an educational quality as you learn about the animals. However, this is not all the story. The surprise ending of the book is what makes it and leaves you feeling all warm inside as everyone is pretty to someone.
Donaldson's story does not quite have the high level of the fantastical that we have come to know, but this does allow Scheffler's illustrations to shine even more than usual. Fans of his work will already know the style and it is reflected again here. The bonus is that Scheffler is drawing real wildlife and he does it brilliantly. The Ugly Five are all given a personality, whilst still not being the prettiest to look at.
There is plenty in The Ugly Five to recommend the book, especially for fans of the author. This may not be as magical as other outings, but it has more heart than most. The book is just able to balance the educational elements with the entertainment. For young readers who do want to know more, there is some extra information at the end of the book about the animals. For those that just like a fun story, they can skip all that and still have a great time.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon.com.
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