Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Want to catch a unicorn? It’s not easy!

How to Catch a Unicorn, by Adam Wallace/Illustrated by Andy Elkerton, (March 2019, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), $10.99, ISBN: 9781492669739

Ages 4-8

The latest How to Catch… book from Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton is all about catching the mythical, magical unicorn. Narrated by the unicorn, this rhyming tale takes readers on a wild unicorn chase through a zoo, where a group of kids try their best to use traps, treats, and tricks to capture the unicorn. The unicorn deftly maneuvers around each attempt, keeping his magic safe and entertaining readers with fun storytelling in rhyme, bright and bold colors, and, naturally, glitter fart jokes.

This is a fun book with bright, rainbow colors and cheery artwork. The unicorn is constantly on the move throughout the book; have your kids point out where they find him as the book progresses – his hindquarters are in most spreads, giving movement to the story as he escapes yet another trap; he also shrinks down and shows up in shadow, switching things up to keep readers excited and engaged.

Read and/or display with Do You Believe in Unicorns? by Bethanie Deeney Murguia and Kenny Loggins’s picture book take on his song, Footloose. I’m going to keep adding books from this series to my collection, because they’re just fun reading.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Magical Realism meets middle grade: The Unicorn in the Barn

The Unicorn in the Barn, by Jacqueline Ogburn/Illustrated by Rebecca Green, (July 2017, HMH Books for Young Readers), $16.99, ISBN: 9780544761124

Recommended for ages 10-12

Eric Harper lives with his dad and his brother on a farm near Chinaberry Creek. His grandmother lived in the house near theirs, too, but she’s gone into a rest home and now, a veterinarian and her brusque daughter, Allegra, live there. When Eric spots a unicorn in the woods one night, he and Allegra become partners in caring for Moonpearl – the name they give the unicorn – and the twins she’s carrying. Dr. B is no ordinary vet – she takes care of everyone’s pets, sure, but she also has a gift for magical creatures, and they seem to know how to find her. Eric adores Moonpearl and tries to spend every moment he can with her, but he is also too aware of the magical healing properties that unicorns possess; the temptation to use Moonpearl’s magic to make things better for his friends and family is strong.

The Unicorn in the Barn is magical. It’s a beautifully told story of love and loss; of friendship and new life, of beginnings and endings. The black and white illustrations throughout are soft and add an extra dimension to the story. Eric is so earnest, so passionate about making life better for everyone and so in love with Moonpearl, that he often finds himself at odds with the somewhat bossy and bullish Allegra, who would rather keep her mother and Moonpearl to herself. The story is as much about the evolution of their friendship as it is about Eric’s journey through a critical point in his life. A beautiful middle grade work of magical realism. Booktalk with Me and Marvin Gardens to add some magic into your audience’s reading.