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The Ugly Five

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  841 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Who's that singing on the savannah? It's the top-five ugly animals in Africa! The wildebeest, warthog, vulture, hyena and marabou stork swagger proudly across the savannah, rejoicing in their ugliness - and delighting their babies, who think they're perfect just the way they are. Inspired by the real-life Ugly Five safari animals, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's brand ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 7th 2017 by Alison Green Books
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Julia is wonderful and so far her books are like magic. This beautiful beginning story is set in a magnificent rhyme scheme. It takes place in the African Sahara. Everyone wants to see all the beautiful animals like the lion, elephant, rhino and giraffe, but what about the ugly creatures. She takes the 5 forgotten creatures and gives them a story and a club to be part of. There is the Wildebeest, Spotted Hyena, Marabou Stork, Warthog and Lappet-faced Vulture. Hyena’s are really gross animals and ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
‘The Ugly Five’ (2017) is a short, lovely, simple but effective and affecting story – the latest from the accomplished team of writer Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler – who provides the usual and wonderful illustrations to accompany the compelling rhyming words of Donaldson.

Whilst ‘The Ugly Five’ maintains the high standards that Donaldson/Sheffler have set themselves through the many books that they have collaborated on – it is perhaps not quite up there with the strongest of their work – cla
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ugly five is a repetitive and rhyming book which could encourage children to join in with the story. Therefore, I think it would be suitable for reception, year one and year two class.

The book is intriguing because it teaches children about the importance of being kind to each other and working well together as a team, and not to be worried about what others think about you.

The book asks a variety of questions which also encourage children to join in and the book introduced me to animals I
Jennifer B.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cute story about five ugly but lovable critters.
Elaine Mullane || At Home in Books
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler go together like bread and butter. They really are a very well-matched duo and their work is loved the world over for good reason.

Their newest effort is a celebration of the animals in Africa, but not the ones children usually come to love. This is a book about the "others"; the funny-looking animals that many forget. Taking a warm-hearted approach, Donaldson draws our attention to "The Ugly Five": the wildebeest, the warthog, the hyena, the vulture and the Mar
Craig Sisterson
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
You can always trust Julia Donaldson to deliver a top quality kids read for the little ones (that can also be enjoyed by the adults reading it to them over and over). Me and Miss 3 really enjoy her rhyming, fun-filled tales, particularly those wonderfully illustrated by Axel Scheffler. In this one the pictures and the underlying story of the lesser-loved animals (as opposed to the famed 'Big Five' in African safaris) are probably the best point - Donaldson's verse is fun but not quite as memorab ...more
Anne Forrest
I got this one for Christmas from Santa at my library story time. I love reading it with my Nannie. Even though the animals are ugly I think they are funny & love them.
Shane Harcombe
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. A beautifully illustrated tale that celebrates inner beauty and accepting who you are, whilst also informing kids about African animals. Long may this partnership continue!
Perfect to share as a read aloud, this picture book is filled with great lines and rhymes that make it fun to read and fun to hear. The illustrations are also perfect in depicting just how unattractive some of these animals are. Plus, the fact that it contains a positive message about what really matters makes it even more useful for a classroom. There are many splendid animals that tourists want to see when they are on safari in Africa, but only rarely does someone long to spot the five creatur ...more
Ms. B
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture, 2019, rhyming
We're all lovely to someone, find out what the five ugliest animals are and who loves them anyway in this fun rhyming picture book. ...more
Menolly Harper
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very sweet! And a lovely message to the parents reading the book aloud to the child.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Alex Scheffler
Setting: The African Scrub
Characters: Wildebeest, Spotted Hyena, Lappet-faced Vulture, Warthog, Marabou Stork.
Plot: The Wildebeest begins walking through the African desert away from all of the ‘beautiful’ creatures, when suddenly she stumbles across four other animals that believe they are just as ugly in appearance. As they walk through the Savannah, singing a song about how ugly they are, the other creatures scamper at the sight o
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Samuel Tyler
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creating a popular character is a double edged sword; one side is buckets of cold hard cash, the other is people demanding that you trot out the same old stuff. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler created the behemoth that is ‘‘The Gruffalo’ and you could forgive them producing countless books in this series, but they do not. Anyone who is a fan of either Julia Donaldson or Axel Scheffler will already know that their other work is also excellent; just ask ‘‘Superworm’’ or ‘‘Room on the Broom’’. T ...more
Amanda Brooke
This book sits on two nerves and therefore loses a star. Nominated for the Washington State Children's Choice award, this book requires that the students know about he Big 5 and possibly the Little 5 and therefore the Shy 5. It also requires that the librarian endures rhyming couplets and the kids endure her singing the sing song verses... not winning me over. These requirements are really just my needs.

However, if we did a big unit on Africa and then maybe the students could write a play and th
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Donaldson, Julia The Ugly Five, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. PICTURE BOOK. Scholastic Press, 2018. $18. 9781338249538.

Wildebeest, hyena, vulture, warthog, and marabou stork – meet the five ugliest animals on the African plains. The five exult in how ugly they are, embracing their terrible habits and smells. But each of them has others who love them very much.

Donaldson crafts poetry that is fun to read, changing things up to introduce each animal and then welcome into the growing group. I need
Ms Threlkeld
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When people go on safari they clamor to see the Big Five, but what about the much maligned Ugly Five? It's true that the wildebeest has spindly legs, the hyena's voice is odd, the lappet-faced vulture stinks, the warthog is covered in warts, and the marabou stork is a grouch, but that doesn't mean they aren't lovable! Readers of all ages will delight in the descriptive rhyming text, detailed illustrations, and unexpected ending. This picture book could spark thoughtful class discussion about sel ...more
Smoot M.L.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
At first the word ugly is an ugly word. It is someone's opinion of an observation. As one got deeper into the story it does seem to take shape. One the ugly group are happy with whom they are. Two their babies adore them they see them as loving parents that feed them and cheer them up and pick out their nits. They're cuddly, they're brave, and strong. The rhyming is very good and flows in the story.
Three, it is all about family. At the back of the book there is a comparison of the big five, the
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another great collaboration between Ms. Donaldson and Mr. Scheffler.

This time the story is about some animals in the Savannah who are, shall we say? Less than attractive.

But here's the thing.
The other animals haven't ostracized them or called them names.

But still, they feel a bit low about their looks and start to proclaim it to the winds. But then another "ugly" animal joins in the singing and well, joins the club.

Won't say anymore as to not ruin the story.

Great addendum about different kinds
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
as always, beautiful story and illustration from the stellar duo, donaldson/ scheffler. first time i read one of her books in german (out in our public library already before the official publishing date) before seeing the original. anyways, the translations by naoura work very well in transmitting the magic, better than most of the other donaldson translations into german. hopefully she can get a shot at the earlier donaldson children´s books, especially the smartest giant in town and the snail ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I love the title. I love a picture book being about the "five ugliest animals on the African safari." It was refreshing for a picturebook about African wildlife to NOT be all about the lion and what not. The illustrations are really well done. And I think the purpose of the book definitely is served--it makes the reader appreciate them a little better, I think.

However, they sang (?!) that one part? I COULD NOT find a proper cadence for that part no matter what I did. It always sounded stilted a
Alicia Evans
I really wanted to like this book, but I just didn't. It did have a more musical chorus throughout that could be used maybe with a beat to help it along, but I just couldn't get into it. I didn't like the concept--even though the book tries to redeem it at the end--and it just felt too long. Maybe someone would appreciate the musicality of it, but it fell flat for me.

For: fans of animals or readers looking for a longer read.

Possible red flags: Bullying and potentially scary illustrations of maln
Charlotte & Alexei
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: friendship, animals
Featuring some rather unattractive creatures from the African plain, this beautifully lyrical picture follows five animals as they join together to lament their own ugliness, yet the heart-warming surprise at the end challenges their own beliefs :)
I was particularly happy with the list of animals at the end of the book, a great addition for younger readers to have a look at the other animals that can be found in the same area as the featured five.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: preschool-1st grade
As someone who likes warthogs, how could I not like this book? It's a fun look at five not-so-popular animals to be found on an African savanna. A few others sneak into the background--dung beetle, snake, bats. The rhyming story ends with the ugly five being renamed the lovely five by their offspring -- family loves and doesn't care how others see you. Four groups of five animals are shared at the end to give children an idea of what might be seen if they went on safari. ...more
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Gorgeous illustrations. A strong message about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and the importance of other features like character and values,which I was relieved about, as I didn't like the derogatory description of the animals' looks. Especially as my 6 year old liked the look of the hyena and the vulture! The glossary of African animals at the back was interesting too. ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A rhyming tale of the Lappet-faced Vulture, the Spotted Hyena, the Wildebeest, the Marabou Stork, and the Warthog, who all give their own reasons as why others consider them the ugliest animals in Africa. But there is another group of animals who think the ugly five are the most beautiful creatures alive.
Patricia N. McLaughlin
Designed to read aloud, this rhyming introduction to lesser-known African wildlife offers plenty of options for interactive learning safaris using the lists of animals in the appendix; bold illustrations add to the fun. Somewhat text-heavy for wee ones, though, and some of the rhymes are a bit of a stretch.
Cara Byrne
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
"I'm the lappet-faced vulture. I'm ugly and bald./No wonder that everyone looks so appalled./I have flaps on my face that are wrinkled and pink,/My beak is gigantic and, what's more, I stink."
Clever, well-written, and impossible to not sing along. My five year old was giggling the whole time and loved the lists of animals at the end.
Raven Black
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
By the creators of The Gruffalo, The Ugly Five is inspired by real-life safari animals and follows Wildebeest, Warthog, Spotted Hyena, Lappet-Faced Vulture and Marabou Stork as they sing across the savannah.

The Ugly Five lends itself to the teaching of subjects across the curriculum from English and Maths to Geography and PE. Links could be made to the Science programme of study whereby pupils learn about ‘Animals, including humans’ and ‘Livings things and their habitats’. Pupils could research
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