A ten year stay in Africa inspired Rachel Isadora to recreate several European fairy tales (Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Princess and the Pea) and place them in an African setting. Her latest effort in this series is Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling.
Most versions of The Ugly Duckling that I have used in the classroom have tepid illustrations to go with the somber mood of the story. Isadora's vibrant collage illustrations are much more interesting, which will go a long way toward hooking the reader. The Ugly Duckling is not the easiest story to slog through, but this version will make that task a lot simpler.
This is a good book (I would check out the other books listed above as well) to add to your unit on fairy tales. You can compare Isadora's books to previous versions of the fairy tale and also have a discussion about how illustrations can help you visualize the mood of a story.
Rachel Isadora has recently recreated another beloved text, The Night Before Christmas, with an African setting.