The Handsome Little Cygnet

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A swan must waddle before it can fly!

Manhattan’s Central Park seems an unlikely place for a family of swans to raise their baby cygnet, but family life is full of surprises, happy mistakes, and mysterious joys. Join Father and Mother Swan and their Handsome Little Cygnet as they paddle through four beautifully illustrated seasons in Central Park. Smile a lot—and cry just a little—as you follow the journey of a baby swan who grows up to learn what and who he really is. 

From best-selling author and illustrator team Matthew Mehan and John Folley, this wonderful and surprising revision of the Ugly Duckling will please the whole family with beautiful prose and page after page of lush watercolor illustrations. Even enjoy a seek-n-find in the back of the book, learning about the landmarks and wildlife of Central Park, among other amusing mysteries.


Endorsements & Reviews:

"Matthew Mehan and John Folley offer a vision of the traditional family as nothing less than a bastion against barbarism"

"…beauty, grace and order attend the home life of a family of swans—mother, father and fluffy gray cygnet…"

-Wall Street Journal review entitled "Children’s Books: Picturing Love"


"As I choose stories for my children, I tend to be picky. Picture books are powerful. They are also fun, which is why I love reading to my children so much. Now that we’ve read 'The Handsome Little Cygnet' together, I’m glad to add it to my shelf alongside 'Blueberries for Sal' and 'The Story of Ping.'

-The Federalist review entitled Why Picture Books Matter So Much to Children & How to Judge If One's Good


“Matt Mehan and John Folley have produced a memorable, beautifully illustrated children’s story written with charm and a wonderful message.  It’s a marvelous book for the very young.”

-Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia


"Mehan offers a different vision, a vision that can serve not only as an inoculation for the young, but as a gentle warning for their parents."

-Esther O'Reilly from The Russell Kirk Center

Matthew Mehan
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3 Reviews

  • 5
    Filled with Cygnifigance

    Posted by Wereadgreatbooks on May 24th 2023

    This beautiful story helps extend the hearts of children and parents alike with its thoughtful lessons and illustrations.

  • 5

    Posted by Mom on May 24th 2023

    A delightful picture book! My children really enjoy this at story time! Fun prose and a good message too.

  • 5
    The best of the best

    Posted by LitMom on May 24th 2023

    Everyone should have a copy of this book in their collection! True, good, and beautiful literature for kids of all ages!

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