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Ugly just isn't like the other ducklings in the clutch. His neck is too long. He's stays underwater for "too many" seconds. He keeps climbing onto Mother's back whenever he's afraid. So when all the other ducks of Dove Lake turn against him, Ugly's mother has no choice but to protect her family and leave her darling genius behind. Armed only with his natural curiosity and a few good pieces of advice, the ugly duckling must find his way alone. Luckily, the friendship of a few wonderful characters--a boxing wallaby; two bold geese; a maternal wombat; a spunky possum--makes his journey a lot easier. But what is it that Ugly is searching for? By setting this story in Tasmania, Donna Jo Napoli turns expectations on their heads and gives readers a fresh and funny look at this classic tale of finding one's identity.

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