The unicorn trend is still going strong with readers wanting a touch of glitter and sparkle in their bedtime stories. I am pleased, however, to see a new breed of unicorns breaking through. Unicorns who refuse to conform to their sweet and sugary image. Bring on the Grumpycorns, the hungry-corns and the downright naughty-corns (and a few we’ll-behaved ones!)
‘Where’s Mr Unicorn?’ By Ingela P Arrhenius (Nosy Crow)
I love this very cute series of lift-the-flap board books from Nosy Crow. Bold, colourful illustrations feature alongside large-scale felt flaps hiding a whole host of magical creatures, but where’s Mr Unicorn? Watch out for the mirror surprise at the end of the story!
Hours of fun seeking and finding, and admiring those chubby cheeks in the mirror! 0+
‘Oscar The Hungry Unicorn’ by Lou Carter, illustrated by Nikki Dyson (Hachette Children’s)
Oscar the unicorn is hungry he has eaten everything, including his stable! Now, as well as still be hungry, Oscar needs somewhere new to live. He tests out several fairy tale homes but although they all pass the taste test, none of them are Oscar’s forever home.
When Oscar takes a bite out of a troll’s bridge, he’s gone too far. Will he be eaten by the troll or might there be someone to rescue him?
Plenty of dry humour for adults to appreciate and fairy tale characters for young readers to spot. 3+
‘Grumpycorn’ by Sarah McIntyre (Scholastic)
Grumpycorn is armed with a fluffy pen and a fancy notebook and is all ready to write the most amazing story ever! But the words just won’t come. He hasn’t got a clue what to write about. His friends try to inspire him but Grumpycorn insists that he’s waiting for a ‘Moment of Genius’ and asks them to stop bothering him.
Upset, his friends leave him to it. Will Grumpycorn ever be struck by inspiration and will he ever make up for his rude behaviour?
Just as funny, vibrant and heartfelt as you’d expect from the genius Sarah McIntyre. I wonder if it’s partly autobiographical?! The messages about friendship and teamwork are valuable lessons for young readers 3+
‘Unicorn Academy: Ariana and Whisper, by Julie Sykes, illustrated by Lucy Truman (Nosy Crow)
Ariana hopes that their differences won’t stop her and her unicorn, Whisper, from bonding and discovering his special power.
When she and the other members of Diamond dorm head out to explore the forest, Ariana gets a strange feeling that something isn’t quite right. When all the animals start leaving the woodland, Ariana and Whisper will need all their courage to protect their friends.
‘Unicorn Academy: Matilda and Pearl’ by Julie Sykes and Lucy Truman (Nosy Crow)
Despite the headteacher, Ms Nettles, worrying that she and the beautifully-patterned Pearl might be a bad influence on each other, the pair were getting on fantastically. They’re both full of imagination and great at telling stories.
However, whilst camping in the woods, the creative pair and their friends discover that the special magic is draining from the oldest tree on the island. It must be stopped but they’ll have to think fast!
The Unicorn Academy series is perfect for readers embarking on a chapter book adventure. Full of adventure, friendship and illustrations. There’s also a whole series to get stuck into if the books prove a favourite. See some of the others HERE. 7+
‘The Naughtiest Unicorn at Sports Day’ by Pip Bird, illustrated by David O’Connell (Egmont)
This is the second of four ‘Naughtiest Unicorn’ titles scheduled for release this year. Dave was not quite the unicorn Mira had expected but as he was the last one left at Unicorn School, she was left with little choice! More grumpy than glittery and rates lunch way above quests, but Mira’s not going to let that stop her help protect the unicorn world.
Now it’s sports day at Unicorn School but Dave is absolutely NOT a fan of sports. However Mira is determined to join in all the sparkly fun and games because the winning team will be awarded a shiny medal and be sent on a magical rainbow quest!
I love a unicorn with attitude and Dave has it in spades! It’s good to see an upsurge in unicorns going against the grain. I love the humour and lashings of illustrations in this brilliant series. 7+
‘Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords’ by Laura Ellen Anderson (Egmont)
I love Laura’s ‘Amelia Fang’ series and have reviewed the Unicorn Lords instalment more fully in a previous blog post but wanted to highlight it here as a title which features unicorns who don’t behave in a very ‘unicorny’ way.
In short, Amelia Fang is one of the friendliest, largest-hearted vampires you’re ever likely to meet. She lives in Nocturnia with her family and pet Pumpkin called Squashy. In this adventure, Amelia and her friends must head into the truly terrifying City of Glitteropolis to rescue Queen Fairyweather and save the land.
Highly illustrated, funny and with sprayed edges (!), this series is perfect for readers aged 7+
‘The Secret Lives Of Unicorns’ by Dr Temisa Seraphini (Sangma Francis) and Sophie Robin (Flying Eye Books)
So this title is something a little different and caught my eye immediately. ‘The Secret Lives Of Unicorns’ is set to fulfil every unicornologist’s dreams as they final have a ‘non-fiction’ book about unicorns to refer to!
Readers will learn about the anatomy and life cycle of a unicorn, become experts in the defining characteristics of several global unicorn species and learn about the legendary relationship between humans and unicorns.
A stunning, hard-backed edition with a foiled cover and gorgeous retro illustrations. Something to treasure. 7+
I think there’s something here for everyone – fans of the ‘traditional’ unicorn and those who like something a little more subversive. Enjoy!
*Many thanks to all the wonderful publishers who sent me these titles to review*