Everyone has experienced the story of “The Ugly Duckling” at some point in their lives. It is hard to believe that a story first published by Hans Christian Andersen in 1843 would still be as phenomenally well received as it is among childrens books today, but this is truly a timeless classic of childrens literature. Such a classic pedigree coupled with the talents of picture books veteran (and three time Caldecott Honor artist) Jerry Pinkney was a sure recipe for something amazing to take place and indeed, it did. Pinkney’s lush and old style watercolor techniques breathe a new sense of appreciation for an old story.
When a clumsy ‘duckling’ stands out from his siblings for being so much larger and different from the rest he spends his time being picked on, chased and pecked at until he has enough and runs away from his family and the pond that was his home. Through a series of events, the ugly duckling of the book’s title finds himself nestled comfortably in a cottage, safe and warm from the cold winter outside but it isn’t long before he finds himself missing the water from which he came. It isn’t until he finds himself drawn to the beautiful flying birds that he’d seen before that his true destiny is revealed. “The Ugly Duckling” is a timeless lesson of self acceptance that is absolutely perfect for children who feel awkward or otherwise different from others their own age, as most children at some point do.