In this much-loved story, a little bird is called ugly by others until he matures into a beautiful swan.
The Ugly Duckling
The appeal of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy story is as strong today as it was 150 years ago. In addition to being a simple tale, it is also littered with social commentary, particularly about the dangers of ostracizing those who may be different to you. The duckling in question spends an unhappy year being referred to as ‘ugly’ by all those he encounters. However, at the end of that time, a miraculous transformation occurs and the animals in the barnyard are left to eat their words…
Penelope Wilton perfectly captures Andersen’s gentle way with words and the slight air of melancholy that pervades the majority of the tale. We first encounter the duckling exhausted from his hatching and, despite his size, very vulnerable. Wilton’s delivery immediately engenders sympathy for the central character, even without knowing what is to come.
This story about acceptance and yearning is sure to speak to younger listeners and enthral them with its beautiful simplicity. While it has been adapted for young children, Wilton’s talents as a narrator mean than listeners of virtually any age will be drawn in. The Ugly Duckling is a must for parents who wish to introduce their children into the magical world of Hans Christian Andersen.