NICOLO'S UNICORN by Sylvaine Nahas


Age Range: 3 - 7
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Otherworldly artwork accompanies Nahas's American debut, the story of a boy who dreams of meeting a unicorn. Rendered in a palette of mauve, pink, and midnight blue, Landmann's (The Genius of Leonardo, 2000, etc.) opening spread reveals the city of Venice at sunrise. " 'Nicolo, why aren't you ready for school yet?' asks his older brother. 'What are you daydreaming about?' " " 'I'm dreaming about meeting a unicorn,' " says Nicolo on the next page. But his brother lacks imagination. So do his teacher, mother, and aunt. " 'Don't be silly,' " they all say. " 'You know there's no such thing as a unicorn.' " Breathtaking illustrations depict Nicolo and the mythical creature side by side. One, for example, reveals the pair in a magical forest of rust, brown, and mutable green. In another, Nicolo—cloaked in deep purple with almond eyes and aquiline nose—feeds flowers to the blue unicorn. Perhaps most striking, however, is Landmann's use of bronze powder—transformed by the printing process into graceful touches of gold—to illuminate touches of the illustration. Unfortunately, Nahas's narrative lacks the same refinement. The story ends abruptly when Nicolo seeks the help of his grandfather, who not only tells him where to find a unicorn (in art, music, and books) but never to stop believing. Readers never get a sense of how this encounter changes Nicolo. Buy this one for the art and all of those unicorn fans, and have children come up with an ending on their own. (Picture book. 3-7)

ISBN: 0-8230-5580-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Watson-Guptill