This story’s protagonist is extremely serious about her favorite subject: Every waking moment is spent conducting research about and training the 17 unicorns in her midst.
From a stuffed rabbit with a carrot held on by a headband and a toy ambulance outfitted with a toothbrush to a baby sibling with a cone tied to their bald dome, everything in Sophie’s orbit becomes a captive student unicorn. Leading by example, the earnest girl in oversized spectacles lectures her unicorns on how to stalk food with a bow and arrow and how to avoid balloons, all the while managing horn regrowth. Soon, the willing playmates notice an actual unicorn, first spotted carrying a rainbow suitcase and strolling in the cotton-candy and candy-cane forest on the title page. The silent creature sits in on the classes, wide-eyed and observant, but Sophie is too absorbed in her mission to notice. White backgrounds showcase the individual and joint activities of the lively figures as the understated, first-person narrative unfolds. Okstad creates depth and energy by foregrounding solid colors and placing pastel patterns, floating shapes, and architectural details outlined in thin black lines in the background. Sophie has black hair, and she and her toddler sib are paper-white.
From the sparkling shower of confetti on the book cover to the high-octane antics of an obsessed fan in a flower-petal tutu, this imaginative tale of a unicorn (non)sighting will appeal to the legions of fellow enthusiasts. (Picture book. 4-6)