The Ugly Five

The Ugly Five

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

We’re the ugly five, we’re the ugly five.
Everyone flees when they see us arrive.

Meet Wildebeest and Warthog, Spotted Hyena, Lappet-Faced Vulture and Marabou Stork. People call them the Ugly Five . . . but are they really?

“Donaldson’s exuberant verse and Scheffler’s strong, inimitable style are splendidly suited to these underrated, cheerful grotesques, and evoke the love between parents and children of every species.” The Guardian

Julia says ...

I got the idea for this book when I was on a safari in South Africa. We had just spotted a herd of wildebeest.

Malcolm remarked that he thought they looked quite noble, to which our guide replied, “Actually, Malcolm, I’m afraid they are one of the Ugly Five.” I pricked up my ears. I’d heard of the famous Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant) but who were the other four ugly ones? Straight away I knew I would have to write a book about them.

We acted The Ugly Five in our stage show “The Gruffalo, the Witch and the Warthog”. I was the Wildebeest and Malcolm the warthog.


The Ugly Five on Stage, with Wildebeest Julia and Warthog Malcolm

Click here to watch a performance of this story on “Julia Donaldson and Friends”.