Monday, October 7, 2013


Bardoe, Cheryl. The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Tale. Illustrated by Doug Kennedy. New York, NY: Abrams Books, 2011. $16.95. ISBN# 9780810997394. Ages 4-8. Picture book—fiction.

Of the many different retellings of fairy tales I have ever read, this one is one of my favorites. This reinterpretation of The Ugly Duckling is set during prehistoric dinosaur times and features the ancient ancestors of today’s ducks as the duck family and a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex as the ugly duckling. The resemblance between a duck and a dinosaur is so different that you have to wonder how a T-Rex egg even ended up among duck eggs, but this ridiculousness is part of the charm of the story.

The author’s narration of the familiar fairy tale is enjoyable and easy to follow, but it is really the illustrations that make the book what it is. Many of the illustrations made me laugh because it is not often that you see a baby T-Rex trying to act like a little duckling. My favorite illustration features the T-Rex’s duckling “siblings” following after their mother, waddling into the water, while the T-Rex clumsily clomps behind them with a gait that could never be mistaken as a duck waddle. Another hilarious illustration shows the ugly duckling trying to fit in by disguising himself with feathers.

Dinosaur lovers will enjoy the glimpses of a variety of dinosaur creatures the baby T-Rex meets up with on his quest to find his place in the world. These other featured dinosaurs include, Pteranodons, Stegosauruses, and Deinoychuses. The author’s note page features more detailed information about various dinosaurs with more scientific images for those readers who wish to learn more.

Joyce Myers

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