MAGIC SMELLS AWFUL by Matthew K. Manning


From the "Xander and the Rainbow-Barfing Unicorns" series, volume 1
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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A magic-obsessed boy meets four (not-so-good smelling) talking, barfing unicorns.

Twelve-year-old Xander is walking home from school one day when he sees strange rainbows shooting across the sky. The rainbows “didn’t simply fade into view, as rainbows are known to do. No, they burst through the air, as if they were in a hurry to get to the other side of the mountain.” Xander runs toward the woods to see what’s going on, only to confront moments later “an impossible creature”—and then more. In all, he meets four extremely unusual unicorns: Cradie, Stalor, Blep, and Ronk. One pukes on him! The unicorns have been banished from the magical world of Pegasia for trying to eat the other unicorns. They are not your typical unicorns. In fact, they are stinky, zombielike unicorns. But they don’t feel safe on Earth because “humans can’t be trusted,” so Xander vows to protect them. He must devise a plan to hide or disguise these talking, barfing unicorns from humans. What can go wrong? Manning’s premise is so bizarre it works, and Ellis’ use of bright, bold colors to highlight the black-and-white spot illustrations amps that premise further, making the journey of these unicorns on Earth a truly hilarious one. Both Xander and his crush, Kelly, have brown skin and straight, brown hair. Backmatter includes a spotlight on unicorn Ronk and some jokes.

A unicorn story with a twist and funny characters who are in for an adventure. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4965-5719-3
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2018


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