Honk is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling.” Play write Anthony
Drewe was attracted to the message of acceptance and understanding from the story of
The Ugly Duckling. He contacted Stiles, with whom he had previously collaborated on
two projects, to write a musical based around the story. They expanded on the original
story, adding many more characters (including a love interest for the main character.)
Hans Christian Andersen’s animal tales are radically different from traditional fables. At
first Andersen dismissed his fairy-tale writing as a \"bagatelle\" and, encouraged by
friends and prominent Danish critics, considered abandoning the genre. But he later
came to believe that the fairy tale would be the \"universal poetry\" of which so many
romantic writers dreamed, the poetic form of the future, which would synthesize folk art
and literature and encompass the tragic and the comic, the naive and the ironic.
In his work, Andersen uses animals to represent different opinions on life in several
stories, such as “The Happy Family,” “The Sprinters,” and “The Dung-Beetle.” The
stories themselves are closer to satirical sketches of human manners than fairy tales for
children. “The Ugly Duckling,” probably Andersen’s best-known story, is one of his many
camouflaged autobiographies, echoing the writer’s much- quoted statement:
“First you must endure a lot, then you get famous.”
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The animals, including the protagonist, possess human traits, views, and emotions,
making the story indeed a poignant account of the road from humiliation through
suffering to well-deserved bliss.
The lessons in this Study Companion connect the search for acceptance and the
discovery of identity with concepts in English language arts, math and science.
Mistaken Identity: Ducks, Swans and Multiplication guides students through Hans
Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling,” news articles about an incident with a local
swan in New Orleans City Park, all while learning about the “Princess of Polka Dots,”
Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan\'s most prominent living artists. Students explore
connections between visual art and multiplication and create artwork inspired by
Andersen and Kusama.
Comparing Stories: Honk, Are You My Mother? and Stella Luna guides students as
they investigate the plot of Honk and compare it to two other children’s books with
similar themes: Are You My Mother? and Stella Luna.
Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” is a story of mistaken identity and selfdiscovery
involving a baby swan and baby ducks in a mix up of heredity and family
acceptance. In The Shapes of Us, students embark on a journey of personal selfdiscovery,
the discovery of how DNA tells a story of heritage. To do this, students will
explore heredity and family awareness through the lenses of mathematical sequences
and shapes. During this exploration, students will compare mitosis and meiosis and
consider mitosis and meiosis as an interconnected sequence of numbers on a number
line. They will imagine the number line as their line of ancestors, imagine their inherited
physical characteristics (hair color, eye color, etc.) as shapes, investigate the work of
artists Betye Saar and Delita Martin, two artists that use shapes and symbols to explore
heritage and compare personal traits of their parents with their own. During this lesson,
students use their understanding of cell division, shapes and their comparisons of
inherited physical traits as references while creating their own assemblage art works
inspired by Betye Saar and Delita Martin. This lesson was taught at Lincoln Elementary
School for the Arts as part of the JPAS Stage Without A Theatre program.
Mathematics > Algebra Science > Biology Science > Earth Science Science > Ecology Mathematics > Equations Science > General Mathematics > Geometry Language Arts > Grammar, Usage & Mechanics Mathematics > Graphing Language Arts > Listening & Speaking Language Arts > Literature Mathematics > Number Sense & Operations Language Arts > Reading Comprehension Language Arts > Research Language Arts > Story Telling Language Arts > Writing