The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson

The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson

‘Everyone’s heard of the big five, but have you heard of the ugly five?’

Julia Donaldson, popular author of the wide-read and well-loved children’s books The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, now has a brand new picture book published in 2017 called The Ugly Five.

On her safari into the African Savannah, Julia Donaldson was introduced to the famous and well-loved ‘big five’. However, a different group of animals caught her eye…

The Ugly Five is inspired by some of the ‘ugliest’ safari animals found in the African Savannah. These are of course: the wildebeest, the warthog, the vulture, the hyena and the marabou stork. Not only are all of these animals seen as ugly, they are often seen as unloved as well. However, this doesn’t dishearten these animals, who rejoice and take pride in their ‘ugliness’, thinking that they are perfect just the way they are. The Ugly Five is full of funny, witty and heart-warming rhymes that celebrate the differences between these animals. Axel Scheffler accompanies these rhymes with humorous illustrations.


Not only does this book provide great entertainment, it also has many learning opportunities.

PSHE: This book opens up the opportunity to discuss the differences between people. How would you feel if you were laughed at for being different? It would be a great circle time starter, as it explores a variety of feelings: happy, sad, lonely, etc.

Geography: This book is set in the African Savannah. Which animals live in the Savannah? What is the climate like in the Savannah? What features do these animals have that allow them to adapt to the Savannah? What are the differences between the African Savannah and your town/country? Comparison between humans and animals – would a human be able to survive in the African Savannah?

Art: Drawing or painting the African Savannah. Are there any key features of the Savannah? How does it compare to our landscape?

Literacy: Hot seat one of the animals – how are they feeling? Write a diary entry from the perspective of one of the animals. Include lots of feelings, rhetorical questions, chatty, informal style.

Natasja Chant





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s