Fan favorites Donaldson and Scheffler (Zog and the Flying Doctors, 2017, etc.) return with a rhyming introduction to the so-called ugliest animals on the African savanna.
The story begins with the “Big Five” (elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard) and friends lounging about being “glorious,” “cool,” “fine,” “divine,” “graceful,” and “great.” When a wildebeest enters the scene, the other animals don’t label her, but she proclaims herself “the ugly one” (though the description of her physical appearance doesn’t entirely match the illustration). The wildebeest doesn’t seem bothered to be ugly and soon meets the hyena, who she thinks is even uglier than she, and the hyena concurs. The wildebeest invites the hyena to “Join the club,” and a pattern emerges. As they walk through the savanna, they’re joined by a vulture, a warthog, and a marabou stork. Each time a new animal joins the bunch, they modify their silly song about how ugly they are. Readers are sure to enjoy singing along to this, though making the rest of the text rhyme is sometimes a stretch. At the end, their children proclaim them to be good parents and the loveliest of animals. Scheffler’s signature illustrations add humor to the story and bring the setting to life.
This tale of celebrating inner beauty should appeal to Donaldson and Scheffler’s fans as well as to animal lovers. (author’s note, picture glossary) (Picture book. 3-8)