Gimmicky and sweet, it could help fill a niche need for readers captivated by unicorns.

WHAT ARE UNICORNS MADE OF?

Sugar-filled unicorns leap across the pages of this board book.

The premise of this sweet addition to unicorn lore is that these magical creatures are filled with treats. Unicorns prance across each solid-colored pastel spread along with cartoon rabbits, foxes, and birds as well as smiling clouds, lollipops, cupcakes, hearts, mushrooms, and flowers. Rhyming verses spin hypotheses that answer the titular question, “what’s inside a unicorn?” Then, part by part, pictures show what goes into them. Jelly beans and “yummy pink popcorn” fill their tummies, manes are made of marshmallow and ice cream, “horns are filled with butterflies,” and hooves glitter with music. Key words from each verse (rainbows, twinkling, pretty music, etc.) are repeated in display type amid the decorative background. Unfortunately, children of board-book age may not connect words and pictures. The stylized popcorn could be flowers, for instance, and at times hearts and stars also decorate the unicorns. It’s whimsical, yes, but also busy and distracting. The rhyming text is on the long side for toddlers. The final page presents a pop-up pink unicorn on a rainbow, with a pink castle in the background, seemingly trying to bring the disparate elements together. Ultimately, this fantasy world is too complex for the board-book audience and not focused enough for preschoolers.

Gimmicky and sweet, it could help fill a niche need for readers captivated by unicorns. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-660-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A goofy story and zippy illustrations make this a nice-enough book but not a must-have.

HELLO KNIGHTS!

From the Hello…! series

In this rhyming board book, knights meet dragons and become friends after an almost-battle between the two is defused by silly undergarments.

Readers first meet the knights as they’re attending the queen and the king, marching, and guarding the castle. When dragons approach ready to fight, the knights halt the hostilities by raising the king’s underwear on a flagpole. Laughter ensues at the silliness, and the knights and dragons become friends when they start a party that readers find under a nifty, crenellated double foldout. Holub’s rhyming couplets are easy to read and have a rhythmic quality that feels almost like a classic epic poem. Dickason’s cartoony, detailed illustrations with comic-book influences will appeal to younger readers. The bold, brightly colored spreads illustrating “Hello dragons!” and “Goodbye dragons” stand out as the clearest and show admirable restraint. Details such as the king’s tattoos are a fun wink to adult readers. Preschoolers will giggle at the king’s undies flying high and will also feel relieved at the peaceful, happy resolution to the book’s climactic clash. While the story is a bit nonsensical—why do the knights decide to fly the underwear on a flagpole?—the overall silliness will appeal to younger readers who won’t mind the plot holes.

A goofy story and zippy illustrations make this a nice-enough book but not a must-have. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1868-4

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Introduces colors in a pleasing but not outstanding way.

UNICORN

From the My Little World series

A vibrant, tactile guide to colors.

Each page features happy unicorns prancing through various landscapes introducing the different colors of the rainbow. A die-cut arch appears in the middle of each page, giving tiny fingers a chance to flip pages. Descending in size with each page turn, it is a modified rainbow that corresponds with the pastel hue introduced on each page. The surrounding images are detailed, placing the unicorns in lush settings where children can identify multiple creatures and plants in the various hues. The rhyming text is bouncy and fun to read aloud, and the letters float whimsically on the page, making it easy for emerging readers to follow along. Relatively advanced vocabulary such as “galloping” and “swish” will keep older readers engaged. The co-published Flamingo focuses on counting, each page featuring bright pink birds and chicks playing on sandy beaches throughout the course of a beautiful, sunny day; its die-cut gimmick is simply the shape of a flamingo’s body, and both its text and illustrations are more pedestrian than Unicorn’s. Overall, the books are enjoyable enough but do not stand out, making them a solid choice but not necessarily an exciting one.

Introduces colors in a pleasing but not outstanding way. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-597-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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