You may think you know the classic story of the Ugly Duckling, but think again. In the capable hands of his alter ego Maynard Moose, renowned storyteller Willy Claflin takes us on a wacky journey where this Uglified Ducky, a hapless young moose, "blunders away" from his home, is mistaken for a baby duck, and endures endless humiliation as he tries to learn to waddle, quack, swim, and fly. Eventually, he finds his true "fambly," who helps him discover his own beauty. In his fractured Moose English, translated in the glossary at front, Maynard relays a surprisingly tender story that echoes the original tale's theme of the struggle to belong and discover your true self. The Uglified Ducky's quest is playfully but sympathetically interpreted in James Stimson's luminous, droll gouache illustrations.
Only Maynard Moose could dream up this hilarious story that mashes up three fractured fairy tales by combining the stories of Rapunzel's golden locks with Sleeping Beauty along with Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to create a bizarre adventure story.
This story opens with "There once was a man whose house was very small," and it continues, "It was cluttered with things from wall to wall." With a tiny, cluttered house, giggling children, and a snoring wife, the poor man can't get a good night's sleep. If only, he thinks, I had a big quiet house! He throws off his covers and goes to visit the wise old woman at the edge of the village. Surely she can help him solve his problem. And she does, but not without giving him some very unusual advice. Bring a chicken into your house, she suggests. And when that doesn't work, she has him add a goat, a horse, a cow, and even a sheep. The ending of the story proves, as so many ancient folktales do, that quite often, nonsense makes the best sense of all. Susan Greenstein's bold illustrations, white pencil on black surface with watercolor - carry the reader through the warm interiors and peaceful nights of the shtetls of Eastern Europe.