cover image The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling

Hans Christian Andersen, Lilian Moore. Scholastic, $12.95 (46pp) ISBN 978-0-590-40957-5

The simplified telling here may be more palatable to younger readers, but it flattens the story, making what was poetic stiff and what was funny too protracted. But San Souci's illustrations rescue the edition, in the colors of a faded, favorite patchwork quiltmuted, with many patterns and quaint touches that contribute to a period setting. Certainly, there was never a more downtrodden, woebegone duckling, who later, unaware of his own new beauty, cannot raise his head in front of the swans; he's afraid that his own ugliness will so offend them that they'll want to kill him. Ages 47. (May)