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A Prehistoric Tale

by Cheryl Bardoe & illustrated by Doug Kennedy

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8109-9739-4
Publisher: Abrams

Andersen’s classic fairy tale gets a prehistoric setting and cast of characters. When her eighth egg finally hatches, late, mother duck and her seven ducklings are shocked at his rather different appearance—he is a T. Rex, not a Vegavis iaai, as they are. Even a mother’s love is not enough to assuage his awareness of his difference, so he runs away. After countless encounters with other creatures fleeing at the sight of him, he finally meets a kindly mother T. Rex who sets him straight and takes him in. Backmatter includes detailed scientific drawings of the featured dinosaurs, an artist’s note, bibliography and suggestions for further reading. The author’s note explains how “ducks” and dinosaurs lived in the same time period—recently discovered fossil evidence marks Vegavis iaai as an ancestor to today’s ducks and geese. Kennedy’s cartoonish watercolors nicely balance the ugly “duckling’s” good intentions with his slightly threatening appearance and clumsiness, helping readers empathize with him. Facial characterization excels, from the nasty neighbor who can’t keep her comments to herself to the hope written all over the ugly “duckling’s” face when he tries to befriend a group of Deinonychus. A sure winner for those dino-hungry readers. (Fractured fairy tale. 4-8)