The Ugly Duckling – Justine Clarke/Nathaniel Eckstrom/Frank Loesser (book review)

Late last year, I had the distinct pleasure of winning a copy of The Ugly Duckling in a giveaway hosted by Zanni at My Little Sunshine House.


The Ugly Duckling contains the classic story of the ugly duckling who grows up to become a beautiful swan. It’s the version written by Broadway composer Frank Loesser, with adorable illustrations from Nathaniel Eckstrom and a CD featuring Justine Clarke on vocals.


Justine Clarke seems to divide people. For the record, I’m firmly in camp Justine-Clarke-is-BRILLIANT. Maybe even in camp Justine-Clarke-for-PM. I love her voice, I love that she remembers her audience and sings accordingly, and I love her expression when she performs. She just gets it.

The Ugly Duckling is a winner, and the CD has been played constantly in our house since the book arrived. (Well, since Christmas. With only days between the book’s arrival and Christmas, this may have been cheekily slipped into a stocking.)


This book has also prompted some interesting conversations with our four-and-a-half-year-old about why people are mean to other people. She wanted to know what would have happened if the ugly duckling hadn’t become a swan. What if it just stayed brown and ‘ugly’ forever? That would be okay, wouldn’t it? Why do people have to be mean?

Very interesting. There’s a complementary story idea in there. (I call dibs.)

Our almost-two-year-old enjoys the book too, and gives us some of his best waddle and quack work when we listen to the song. Highly recommended for readers, listeners, waddlers and quackers of all ages.


Have you read (and/or listened to) The Ugly Duckling? What did you think?

And thank you to Zanni of My Little Sunshine House for the book. This was not a sponsored post, nor was I asked to review the book. We just love it!

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click to buy the item, I earn a little commission but you don’t pay any extra.


  1. says

    I can still sing the entire Danny Kaye version of this song from the Hans Christian Anderson movie – I didn’t love the movie as a kid but I did love Danny Kaye and the songs….

  2. says

    I remember when I was little and you could buy records (singles) which came with a book and a little bell rang when it was time to turn the page.

    I always buy my friend’s little boy books with CDs nowadays because I like to hope that he remembers something similar when he’s my age and god-only-knows-what has been invented to take the place of CDs/books!


  3. says

    What a gorgeous looking (and sounding) book and I love that it has brought out “the big questions” from your little one! Have a relaxing weekend, Tonia (from FYBF)

  4. says

    I loved this story as a kid and this looks like a gorgeous version of it – must look into picking up a copy for my niece. However, since reading this post I suspect I’ll have Dick Van Dyke singing The Ugly Duckling in my head all night… so thanks for that 😉

  5. says

    We’re big Justine Clarke fans too! I don’t think my boys read enough of the classic children’s stories so this might be a great one for them. Especially if there’s a CD. Maybe I’m just making excuses to buy it as I love the Ugly Duckling story. Either way, it’s all good, right? :)

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