The Ugly Duckling

Title: The Ugly Duckling
Author: Hans Christian Anderson
Original story written by Hans Christian Anderson (1844) in Danish. English translation by H. P. Paull (1872)
Date/Publisher: 2012, Illustrations and digital publishing by Ripple Digital Publishing
Reviewed by: Trisha Faye, Binkey and Bubblegum Books

ugly ducklingThank you A to Z Blog Challenge for opening my eyes to this delightful classic children’s tale. I needed a ‘U’ book for the challenge. I’d neglected to choose one ahead of time. There were none in my personal collection. I didn’t have time to make a trip to my local library. (Those full time jobs sure can interfere with my life occasionally!) I searched my ibooks. Nothing. I searched for available ibooks starting with ‘U’. Several YA books, outside of my preferred genres to review, were the only ones coming up.

The Ugly Duckling flitted past on the screen. I passed it up and kept looking. After all, everyone knows the story of The Ugly Duckling. I got to the bottom of the list and ran out of options. In desperation, I went back to The Ugly Duckling and downloaded it. (For FREE, which was a plus!)

What I got was certainly not what I expected.

Somehow, over the years, this 50-something brain retained the synopsis version of The Ugly Duckling. I thought that was all there was to the story. I kept reading, enthralled by each turning page. (Do digital pages turn?)

I had no idea, no remembrance at all, that this story was written with such depth and detail.

“In a sunny spot stood a pleasant old farm-house close by a deep river, and from the house down to the water side grew great burdock leaves, so high, that under the tallest of them a little child could stand upright.”

The poor little unwanted ‘duckling’ experiences more troubles and tribulations than I ever recalled: duck hunters, tom cats, an old woman, being frozen in ice. Until at last:

“He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now hea heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, ‘I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an Ugly Duckling.’

No, this isn’t a new release. It’s more than an oldie-but-goodie-classic from my childhood. It’s more than a favorite mother’s book that I read to my boys. Here is a story that’s touching, heart-warming and filled with rich descriptions throughout. No matter your age, this is a story worth reading again.

Little did Hans Christian Anderson know that 169 years later, we’d be reading his words and his tales, only this time on a screened device with no pages – no parchment. His words have outlived the master storyteller, still cherished all these years later.

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