Happily Ever After: The Ugly Duckling by Annie White
Published by New Frontier Publishing
This is the first in a series of fairytales ‘with a twist’ from New Frontier Publishing.
In this re-telling of The Ugly Duckling, the reader gets the sense from the beginning that Mother duck was disappointed with the egg that took too long to hatch and the ‘duckling’ that emerged. However the reader is instantly engaged with the appealing character as he emerges from his egg and enthusiastically investigates his world, only to be rejected by everyone – cows chase him away, hens laugh at him, rabbits and dogs run away from him and his family swims off with their backs to him. We feel his sadness. When a family of baby swans invite him to play one day, the ugly duckling has the happiest day of his life – and discovers in the end that he is beautiful swan after all!
Annie White’s pretty pastel watercolours delightfully convey action and emotion and the fairytale is beautifully rendered. It is a pleasure to read a fairytale set in a scene that is familiar to modern day Australian readers. I did, however feel it was a missed opportunity that the swan was a white northern hemisphere swan rather than the indigenous black swan.
This is a charming adaptation of the classic fairytale of the Ugly Duckling, in which the beautiful watercolour illustrations steal the show.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author/Illustrator: Annie White
Title: Happily Ever After: The Ugly Duckling
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing
Published: March 2016