The best new books for unicorn fans

Most imaginatively inclined people (childlike some might call us) have a favourite mythical animal. Mine is the unicorn. And I am not alone. A resurgence of books celebrating this most noble and magical of beasts has lately been filling me, and other unicorn lovers, with excitement and delight.

Award-winning Sydney author Aaron Blabey has released a hilarious new rhyming picture book about an ordinary pony called Thelma who longs to be unique, like a unicorn. When unusual circumstances make Thelma’s dream come true, she realizes that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Thelma the Unicorn is a fun read-aloud story for ages 2-5. Aaron Blabey is also the author of the hilarious Pig the Pu (a book about sharing), and Sunday Chutney (about being unusual and the importance of having a sense of belonging).

For some reason, the unicorn is most often associated with little girls – perhaps it is the unicorn’s relationship to young virgins, who are reputedly the only ones able to tame them.

But what if unicorns didn’t really believe in the existence of little girls? This is the world that Uni the Unicorn lives in. Uni refuses to accept the status quo and knows that if he just wishes hard enough, his special little girl will appear. With stunning illustrations, this rhyming story is sure to delight young girls who dream of unicorns.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal is also the author of the brilliant optical illusion picture book Duck! Rabbit!.

The fun doesn’t stop at picture books. For readers aged 7-9, the unicorn is, of course, coupled with royalty. In Jessica Burkhart’s Unicorn Magic series, royal children are given a unicorn on their eighth birthday. Lucky them! But Princess Bella is worried that she might not get her unicorn.

There are three books in this series about Bella and her unicorn so far (Bella’s Birthday Unicorn, Where’s Glimmer?, and Green With Envy) with more to come soon.

The author is clearly a huge fan of our four-legged friends as she also wrote the Canterbury Crest series for tweens, about an elite equestrian school.

I didn’t realise that unicorns could be sarcastic until I discovered Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, the vain and egotistical unicorn in the graphic novel, Phoebe and her Unicorn.

When Phoebe rescues Marigold from her own reflection and is granted one wish, she wishes for the unicorn to be her best friend. Teased and bullied at school, Phoebe hopes the unicorn will grant her coolness – or perhaps superpowers.

The growing friendship between these two characters is hilarious and I credit this book with teaching my daughter how to use sarcasm. This one is ideal for 8-12’s.

In middle fiction, we have Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist, flying the unicorn banner.

When Twig is sent to an island with a home for troubled girls, she feels unwanted and unloved until she discovers someone who really needs her – a unicorn foal. Helped by a mystery boy who lives in the woods, Twig must summon her courage to protect the last unicorn herd from evil.

This is exciting, adventure fantasy for readers 10 and up.

Our wonderful Children’s Laureate Jackie French has released a collection of stories featuring horses and unicorns. Some are reality-based and others take the reader in magical fantasy worlds where unicorns roam free.

So, girls and boys need never give up their love of the unicorn when they grow up. However old you may be, there is a unicorn book for you. Because UNICORNS RULE, OK!

Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton.