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BILLIE THE UNICORN by Brianne Drouhard


By Brianne Drouhard (Author) , Brianne Drouhard (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59702-024-4
Publisher: Immedium

Billie learns that adventure isn't all it's cracked up to be in this tired reiteration of a very old theme. This unicorn’s cornfield surroundings appear lackluster compared to the "mystical forest" where her cousins Rhubarb and Smudge abide. Her magical relatives create spectacular garden scenes, but Billie’s best attempts to beautify the world yield only corn. Intrigued by rumors of the queen’s luscious landscape, she's tricked by the evil monarch and kept hostage until she gains self-confidence. Drouhard's background in animation is apparent in fantastic, rainbow-sparkly spreads; the treacherous royal makes for a charismatic aggressor behind her cold castle walls (recalling an Alice in Wonderland whimsy, Tim Burton–style.) Striking facial expressions complete with doe eyes, elfin ears and buck teeth suit the overall aesthetic, though these unicorns do not look remotely equine. Unfortunately, earnest-yet-vague word choices lead to a flat presentation: “Rhubarb and Smudge took care of the woods in their own special way.” Heavy-handed dialogue does nothing to relieve the formulaic plot. “Just be yourself, think about what you like, and the magic will do the rest!” gushes Rhubarb. The trite resolution jars. Even this unicorn family’s mystical gifts are unable to support this clunky narrative. (Picture book. 4-8)