I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS by Michael Morpurgo


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 11
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In a fictional episode inspired by several true ones, people band together to save their library after a sudden attack leaves their small town in flames. At first, young Tomas, who narrates, has no interest in going to the village library, but that attitude changes completely after he hears the new librarian tell stories from a wooden seat shaped like a unicorn. Eventually, she invites Tomas himself to read from a battered copy of “The Little Match Girl” that, she explains, had been rescued from a book-burning in her youth. Then an attack by air and land shatters the mountain valley’s peace, and when Tomas hurries into town afterwards, he joins his father and other survivors in braving the fire to carry the library’s books—and, finally, its unicorn—to safety. “Buildings they can destroy. Dreams they cannot,” the librarian proclaims. Modeling forms with scribbly lines, Blythe alternates black-and-white vignettes with wordless full-spread scenes in color; like Morpurgo, he suggests a European setting but no specific locale for the story. And like Jeanette Winter’s The Librarian of Basra (2005), the idea that saving literature is as heroic as saving lives comes through loud and clear. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-3050-0
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2006


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