Noncloying but still incredibly sweet, this unicorn story bucks the trend.

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ONCE UPON A UNICORN'S HORN

A little girl learns that inner confidence can make everything around you shine.

In a magical forest lush with foliage, fairy lights, and trendy, triangle bunting strung along the eaves and trees, a tiny tot named June roams in search of adventure. With patched overalls and a hooded cape, she’s ready. June discovers a grand castle (a treehouse) and a magic wand (a twig), but nothing prepares her for the sight of tiny horses who are learning to fly. “They shook their soft fur, / fluttered their sparkly tails, // and whizzed into the air.” Blue’s horses look an awful lot like wispy-tailed bunnies (with long ears and plump bodies sitting on their haunches), but this is an origin story, so unknowns are easily forgiven. Amid the wonder, June finds one sad little horse who is still on the ground, unable to fly. June wants to help. She waves her wand and wishes a great wish…but nothing happens. Her parents help her realize the magic is in being a good friend. A well-intentioned accident suddenly gives the tiny horse the power he needs, along with a fancy new horn to boot. The cozy forest and sincere narration thrum with the possibility of magic. But June knows: “My magic is deep inside. I don’t need a wand to fly.” June and her family present white.

Noncloying but still incredibly sweet, this unicorn story bucks the trend. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-22926-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

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

UNI THE UNICORN

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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