March 15, 2016

Unicorns (are real)!

Ah, if only. Unicorns are definitely a source of magic, though, so it's no wonder picturebooks with unicorns tell tales of adventure. Unicorns lend themselves well to stories of overcoming obstacles and believing in oneself. And today's unicorn selections are no exception!

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea is a great place to start. Things are pretty different now that Unicorn has moved into town. No matter what Goat does, Unicorn does it better: Goat bikes to school but Unicorn flies, and Goat can pull a quarter out of your ear, but Unicorn can turn you into gold! No matter what, Goat is left feeling a step behind. So when Unicorn approaches Goat to hang out, Goat is about to decline, until he learns that unicorns aren't without their own set of issues. Bob Shea's whimsical illustrations are full of color and magic: the colors are bright against the predominantly bare backgrounds, and the text lend itself well to being read aloud. The book is inviting from the get-go: the glitter-splattered cover and title page perfectly introduce the foiled personalities of both characters, and not a single spread is under utilized.






Next on the list is Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long. Five heroes (one of which is a unicorn, so it's totally relevant) set out on a quest to save their forest. A centaur, a gnome, a fairy, a mushroom, and a unicorn are charged with retrieving the Mystical Crystals of Life, which have been stolen by the neighboring Goblins. Our heroes, though slightly unpolished and maybe a little squeamish, venture to new lands and come face-to-face with scary monsters only to learn that their enemy isn't quite who they thought it was. The illustrations in this book are amazing: there's something to look at in each corner of every spread, the speech bubbles allow for readers to use multiple voices, and the humor is absolutely laugh-out-loud. The colors are bright and inviting, and the twist at the end makes for a fun discussion.




Lastly for today we have Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Brigette Barrager. I'll be the first to admit that this book is not my favorite. It's a little overly saccharine (and it fits the unicorn theme of this post), but it does have a few redeeming qualities that make it a book worth reading at least once. The two spreads I've included below are my favorites (and possibly the only ones that I was truly drawn to), but the one of Uni bending over to reinvigorate some dead flowers is by far the best in the book, Just this one image conveys SO much about Uni: she's kind, shes magical, and she's colorful as heck. The other spread is awesome because it matches the endpapers, though not sure with whom the credit lies for that, Barrager or the book designer. I think it's also important to note that Uni and the mystical girl never meet--yes, they both believe the other is out there, but in never meeting (at least not in the pages of the book) helps ground it a little more for me.




That's it for this week. To see more of Super Happy Magic Forest (including the spread where we meet our heroes) be sure to check out my Instagram page, and I now have a Facebook page, too! Who says you can't have it all...

Keep believing in unicorns, and I'll see you next week!