Wan takes her rhyming formula, previously applied to pumpkins, cupcakes, and more, and uses a unicorn as a vehicle for her newest outing in esteem-building.
“You are magical, my little one. / Reach for the stars, the moon, the sun.” In each image, a rotund white unicorn with flowing, rainbow-colored mane and tail, stubby yellow horn, and yellow stars on its rump poses fetchingly, gallops adorably, or leaps cunningly. It repels angry thunder clouds as it trots along a rainbow and emits stars as it’s exhorted to “sparkle and dazzle” in front of a small throng of admiring woodland animals. The artist’s signature thick, black outlines and smiley faces (except for the frowning thunder clouds) give the book a solidly cheerful feel that is reinforced by the pastel palette. Landing as it does in an environment in which an emphasis on resilience is superseding rank cheerleading in early-childhood instruction and in which empathy must be cultivated, it feels only half-baked. It’s all well and good to tell babies to “let your wondrous light shine through. / Baby, I believe in you!” But with no modeling of how to overcome adversity beyond the instruction not to “let fear stand in your way” nor even any sense that other creatures may be equally deserving of attention, it feels like the cotton candy it resembles.
Sweetness with no substance. (Board book. 1-3)