Web page ©Cameron Cunningham
All graphics ©: Val Biro and used with his permission

Retold by Val Biro

"Hello again, dear reader. I want to tell you about this lovely book as, out of all the books he has produced, this is Val's best selling title. I hate to admit it but it is even more popular than Gumdrop, Mr. Oldcastle and me !!.


The book is a lavishly illustrated edition to celebrate the bi-centenary of Hans Christian Andersen's birth. It is a beautifully presented hardback with high quality printing and binding and, above all, great text and artwork by Val. It really is the kind of book that I can well imagine any child treasuring right into adulthood. An example of the stories and pictures are to be found on this page."

The stories in the book are;

  1. 'The Wild Swans'
  2. ' Dan the Dunce'
  3. 'The Emperor's New Clothes'
  4. 'The Flying Trunk'
  5. 'The Ugly Duckling'
  6. 'The Little Tin Soldier'
  7. 'The Nightingale'
  8. 'Thumbelina'



Synopsis with approval of Val Biro

One sunny day in summer a mother duck was sitting on her nest. She sat for a long time and waited for seven eggs to hatch.Six of them did and they were the sweetest ducklings in the world.

The seventh took longer to hatch and, when it did, a large grey duckling tumbled out. " Oh Dear what a large and ugly duckling," said the mother duck.


The ugly duckling was different and when mother duck took her ducklings to meet her friends everybody noticed. "You are too ugly for us," said the pretty ducklings and turned away.

" You are ugly," gobbled the turkey. "Ugly," hissed the goose and bit him on the neck.

Nobody loved him at all so he ran far away and grew bigger and bigger. But wherever he went nobody loved him.


He hid among the reeds all through the winter. But then the sun came out and it was spring. He felt bigger and stronger.

The lovely swans came back and he swam out to meet them, feeling shy.

He bent his head and in the water he saw himself, as if in a mirror. He was not an ugly duckling any more. He was the whitest of white swans.

The other swans said "How beautiful you are!,"

And so the ugly duckling, whom nobody had loved, became the happiest swan in the world.




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