Donaldson is a favourite in our household and we must have read and watched her Gruffalo and Stick man at least a hundred times.
Her ability to create an animal like Gruffalo with its prickly back and warts was something my 4 year old boy totally loved. (A Gruffalo soft toy often goes to bed with him.) My daughter on the hand, loved the Room on the Broom witch and the Christmassy Stick man and the adventures they have.
I reckon what appeals to them is the rhyming way in which the story unfolds and transports them to a fascinating world.
Personally, I love her books too. Whether it is the monkey puzzle where the monkey is on a lookout for his mum or the superworm with its multi faceted skills, I loved reading them as much as my kids. Not to mention Axel Scheffler's illustrations that bring them to life. So when this book came to us, we already had a sense of what to expect and how good it should be.
It is the African plain and as you look around the animals at the watering hole, you notice there are some animals that look different. They stand out from the crowd, and as they are first seen from the perspective of the other animals and then they introduce themselves you can see why. The ugly five then make their way through the forest and and then something happens that brings about a change in perspective.
I could see that the story moved beyond the obvious fact about ugly animals and talked about the concept of beauty. But it is a picture book after all and I was clearly not the target audience. I handed it over to my little ones for review.
My 4-year-old boy's review:
"I like the animals. They are big and scary. I like the activities at the end."
My 7 year old girl's review:
"I first thought it will be for babies since I did Donaldson's books in my reception class. But as the story went on, I was curious to find out who these animals are. The pictures are really good and I like the different words she has used for rhyme. These ugly animals are not 'so ugly' after all."
One liked the illustrations and the animals more whereas the other liked the message and the style of story presentation.
that they liked the other older books better. But then they have read and re- read those for ages. This one does not rank up there for them but they conceded that it was a book they would want to go back to again.
Its been a few weeks and my 4 year old brings back the book ever so often. He loves reading it again and again. A sure hit there.