Thursday, October 15, 2009
Read Aloud Thursday
It's time to talk about what we've been Reading Aloud lately and the truth of the matter is - not much! This has been a busy week and I haven't made it back to the library this week to "dump and reload." The main story that we read this week was The Ugly Duckling.
For an almost three year old, this is something of a long story to read. He mostly listened while playing with his trains.
Our library had multiple copies of this story, but the one we read aloud was adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney and is a Caldecott Honor Book.
In this version of the story, the mother duck who discovers that one of her eggs is different, doesn't very much mind sitting on the egg until it hatches. She is a much more protective mother and seems to truly love her ugly little duckling, despite his obvious oddities. When the other fowls are picking on him, it is much more obvious that they are clearly in the wrong for teasing someone who is different. This version of the book reads much more as a modern parable than some of the other versions, which is something that I didn't mind at all. I do like the classic story and think it can stand alone in arguing that we shouldn't treat people differently just because they look or act in a way that we do not. I think the message of the original story by Hans Christian Andersen shouts that loudly enough on it's own. But making it a little more clear for young readers is not something I'm going to raise any objections to.
The other versions we read were a little more traditionally based. Each version seemed to emphasize different aspects of the story. The mother duck who gave her warmth to hatch Ugly's egg was a little meaner in the other books, as were the chickens who were picking on him. The poor little Ugly Duckling's story was a bit more pathetic but the ending is always the same - he grows into the most beautiful swan you've ever seen.
The message? Don't underestimate the importance, value and beauty of others. Every person is unique and their giftings and talents may very well surprise you! Certainly, it is still a relevant message for today.
One other version of this book that we read was retold by Adrian Mitchell and is illustrated by woodcuts by Jonathan Heale. I very much enjoyed the style of this book but still preferred the story in the Pinkney version better. Still, here is a picture of the cover art of the Mitchell book:
Here's to more fun reading, exploring and learning!