Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Seven Swans and "Wishes in Disguise"

On this Seventh Day of Christmas, best wishes for 2013:  When I think of swans, I immediately recall Hans Christian Andersen's short story of The Ugly DucklingLook for this adaptation, with old fashioned, warm watercolors by author/illustrator Jerry Pinkney (ages 4-8).  William Kilpatrick (Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories) says, "...to admit that it takes time for a child to grow into his or her true identity is far from cruel.  All children instinctively know that, before true maturity can be achieved, they must undergo some kind of rite of passage.  That is why most fairy tales deal with the theme of transformation and suffering...the ugly duckling must endure loneliness and rejection before he can grow up to be a beautiful white swan.  That is why the great child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim has called fairy tales 'wishes in disguise'."
Disney also has a sweet adaptation of the tale, as a Little Golden Book and an animated film...

Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park with ONE soon-to-be-swan - source
"Hans Christian Andersen is meant to be climbed on. The two favorite spots for climbing are on top of the open book displaying the opening lines of The Ugly Duckling and on the freestanding duckling. The memorial cost $75,000, contributed in part by Danish and American schoolchildren. The remainder was raised by the Danish-American Women's Association to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Andersen's birth. During the summer months, children flock to the statue for the storytelling program." - from CentralParknyc.org

Swan Boats in Boston Public Garden (Have you read Make Way for Ducklings?)
The Swan Boats of Boston were established in 1877. They are a family owned and operated business with a unique tradition and special place in the history and beauty of the City of Boston. To read their full history, go HERE.

I think Swans are beautiful!  Happy New Year!


  1. Can you believe that in the 45 years I have lived outside Boston, I have never even seen them! Sad. This year we must go!

    1. Oh, you must! Besides the swan boats, little bronze statues of all the ducklings from Make Way for Ducklings are there!

  2. I LOVE that statue!

    When we lived in New Jersey, there was a waterfowl refuge just off Brigantine Island. It had a one-way road going through it, so that people could drive slowly through the marsh and see the birds. During migrations, it had thousands of birds, including hundreds of swans! It is an astounding thing to see a huge flock of swans in the wild!

    1. I love visiting bird refuges! I've never seen a whole flock of swans in the wild...but we did see a few black swans once. Santa Barbara has a nice bird refuge. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)

  3. I love "Make Way for Ducklings" AND the swan boats in Boston! I think I liked the boats more than my kids did!