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The Ugly Duckling

Last updated Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Author: Hans Christian Anderson
Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 9780688159320
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2011

Synopsis: After an ugly duckling is teased by his family and friends, he spends his first winter alone. With spring comes a marvelous surprise for the duckling.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Has anyone ever had a duck for a pet?
•  Does anyone have a pet? If so, what is it? What is your pet's name?
•  Has anyone ever seen the hatching of a mother duck's eggs?

Vocabulary Selection:
•  CURIOUS = eager to learn or know; inquisitive. arousing or exciting speculation, interest, or attention.
•  GEESE = a plural of goose.
•  HERON = any of numerous long-legged, long-necked, usually long-billed bird.
•  UNIQUE = existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics. Having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable.
•  PECKED = to strike or indent with the beak, as a bird does, or with some pointed instrument, especially with quick, repeated movements.
•  ENVIRONMENT -- the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time. The social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do the other birds make fun of the ugly duckling?
•  Why is the ugly duckling afraid to show his face to the swans?
•  At the end of the story, the ugly duckling decides “to be kind to all living things, from peacocks to potato bugs.” Why?
•  Who was kind and who was mean to the ugly duckling?
•  Does being a beautiful swan mean that the ugly duckling will be happy?
•  What are the main messages or themes in this fairy tale?
•  Is this story just for children?

Craft ideas:

1. 1 lunch size paper bag (yellow if possible, but any color will work)
2. Piece of string or twine
3. 1 1/2 sheets of newspaper (Wrinkle and smash up the two pieces into two balls)
4. Colored piece of paper/construction paper: (2) 3" x 4" and (1) 2" x 4" (orange if possible, but any color will work)
5. Colored piece of paper/construction paper: (2) 3" x 6" (yellow if possible, but any color will work)
6. Scraps of black construction paper
7. Scissors
8. Glue

STEP 1: Place the large newspaper ball in the bottom of the lunch bag and tie the string/twine around the bag just above the ball. Place the small newspaper ball in the lunch bag and fold the top of the lunch bag over the top and glue down.
STEP 2: Cut off the corners of the two 3" x 6" pieces of yellow construction paper for the wings. Fold the two 3" x 4" pieces of orange construction paper together, lengthwise and cut the feet. Glue the feet and wings to the body.
STEP 3: Round off the corners of the 2" x 4" piece of orange construction paper and fold so it has a flat surface to glue to the head for a beak. Cut eyes from the black paper scraps and glue onto face of duck.
Your paper bag duck craft is complete!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!