A tiny slip of magic that suggests equal quantities of conviction and possibility.



Uni the unicorn is like all other unicorns in every way but one.

Uni has a flowing magenta mane, sparkly, golden hooves, and of course, a long, swirly horn that has the power to heal. But there’s one thing that’s different. Uni pores over fairy tales, staring longingly at the princesses found within the pages. No matter what Uni’s friends and family say, Uni believes, truly believes, that little girls must be real. Rosenthal, no stranger to turning convention on its head (for instance, her tiny green protagonist who hates to eat candy for dinner in Little Pea, illustrated by Jen Corace, 2005), delves into the role-reversal plot twist, but what results is simply a strong case for friendship. Uni imagines running, twirling and sitting quietly with a real little girl, and “somewhere far away (but not that far away),” there is a little girl who is wishing and dreaming the very same thing. Barrager’s Disney-animation background shines through in wide, innocent eyes and a lush, candy-colored palette. There are certainly little-girl readers who believe in unicorns just as much as Uni believes in them, and this will feed their dreaming spirits. But the deep desire for friendship has universal appeal.

A tiny slip of magic that suggests equal quantities of conviction and possibility. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-37555-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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