Cornelius J. Sparklesteed knows he’s different, but he’s not sure that’s OK.
On the isle of Hoofington, the Hoofapalooza festival celebrates “everything horse-tastic.” Haberdasher Cornelius finds himself called to Mayor Mare’s office; the mayor wants the “most un-unicorny hat” that Cornelius can make for him for Hoofapalooza. You see, the horses of Hoofington say some pretty mean things about unicorns (“Their horns are too sharp!”; “They fart rainbows!”). That’s why Cornelius always hides his horn under a hat. The hat Cornelius makes for the mayor is so fantastic that Mare asks Cornelius to perform at Hoofapalooza. On Monday, Cornelius meets his doughnut-making friend Tilly and suggests some creative ideas for new flavors. On Tuesday, he meets painter Hablo and suggests rainbows for his Hoofapalooza mural. Wednesday, he offers tips to DJ Salad. And all week, Cornelius works on his costume, making it bright and sparkly, and broods about the mean things he’s heard around the island. As he prepares to perform, he sees his creative friends have used and improved on his ideas…and he puts on the pranciest of dance performances with a hats-off finish to the astonished cheers of the audience. Tharp’s good-natured fable is bright and rainbow-y, with equines painted in fanciful colors. Its lightness and pep present a weighty subject in a way that will resonate with any who have felt “other.”
A sweet and goofy addition to the unicorns-embrace-their-uniqueness shelf. (Picture book. 3-9)