DRAGON

Once again, a creature hatches, seeks its mother among unlike animals, and eventually finds her. Making the baby a dragon provides some variation on the theme, as well as a chance to explore the nature of dragons; having a little boy use the map in his book to complete the quest—and making the dragon, in turn, save the boy when they get caught in the ice (``It says here you can make fire'')—are pleasing novelties in the graceful, well-constructed narrative. Best are the exquisitely wrought paintings of fantastical but appealing creatures in a surreal, romantic landscape: a popularized, smoothed-over update of the style of Dulac's illustrations for Andersen's ``The Snow Queen.'' (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-78397-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1992

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Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic.

HEARTSONG'S MISSING FOAL

Sisters venture into the secret Enchanted Realm to help a unicorn foal.

The Enchanted Realm is kept secret to protect unicorns from humans; only the Unicorn Guardians (always two little girls) have keys to the Magic Gate. The current guardians are sisters Iris and Ruby, who have newly inherited the keys from their mother and aunt. The sisters are excited for the first birth of a unicorn foal since they took over. But when the foal’s mother, Heartsong, doesn’t return from the Fairy Forest (where unicorns birth), the two must venture in to find out what’s wrong. Heartsong is trapped by maze weed, a magic plant that quickly becomes a leafy labyrinth around them. Luckily (if inexplicably), Heartsong’s foal is on the outside of the maze and helps them find their way (extremely easily) by creating magical stars, and thus is dubbed Starsong. Though Heartsong doesn’t want to leave the forest, she obeys the girls. The next day, Heartsong’s agitation to get back to the forest prompts the realization that she likely had twins, so the girls return to rescue the missing twin from mild but inventive peril. The magic is as kid friendly as the large type and short sentences. Picturesque settings and attractive equines populate the black-and-white illustrations, which depict the girls as white. The book’s strongest element is characterization: Younger Ruby’s bolder while responsible Iris must actively decide to face her fears and plan how to succeed. The next three series titles (Unicorn Uncovered, Stolen Magic, and The Red Key) publish simultaneously.

Likely to be an instant hobbyhorse for young lovers of equestrian magic. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63163-391-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Sweet and spunky.

THE BIG SECRET

From the Tales of Sasha series , Vol. 1

A young horse discovers the magical reason why she doesn’t fit in.

Sasha isn’t like the other horses in her herd. She loves running and craves adventure more than the others, especially her ladylike older sisters. She struggles in school with an “itchy feeling” of anticipation, which leaves her fidgety, unable to stay still or pay attention. As much as she tries to behave, she can’t fight her desire to run and jump—especially to jump. When the white patch on her back, the itching’s source, begins to sparkle, she goes to her parents for answers and gets more than she expected. Sasha was adopted; she joined their family as a newborn when, during a huge thunderstorm, a blast of sparkling rainbow lightning left Sasha behind with a letter asking her parents to take care of her. Wanting to know more, Sasha and her best friend go hiking at the mountain where her parents found her. Near the top of the mountain, an accidentally-too-enthusiastic jump launches Sasha off the mountain—whereupon she sprouts wings from her white patch and flies. Energetic readers will relate to Sasha’s manic, kinetic energy and envy her flight abilities. The sequel, Journey Beyond the Trees, releasing simultaneously, continues bold Sasha’s quest for answers as she travels in search of her kind. Gentle black-and-white art emphasizes the horses’ expressive eyes and manes.

Sweet and spunky. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0390-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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