FICTION

Pearl the Magical Unicorn

Feiwel & Friends. Jan. 2020. 128p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781250235503.
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Gr 1-3–Pearl the unicorn is practicing her magical spells trying to conjure up crunchy apples for her friends Tweet and Olive. Instead of apples, showers of pinecones and pink sparkles rain down on them. Tweet and Olive urge Pearl to laugh at her mistakes, but in frustration, she decides to ditch magic and become an ordinary unicorn. A creepy walk through the dark forest to an apple tree and an encounter with the menacing gobble-uns test Pearl’s mettle. Can an ordinary unicorn save her friends using her own wits? Odgers’s tale slips seamlessly into the unicorn genre, complete with pink tutus and sparkle puffs. The low-stakes drama sends an underlying message of empowerment and resilience, as Pearl problem-solves without the use of magic. Large typeface on a white background, with keywords highlighted in pink, supports word recognition for new readers, and exclamations like “chomping cheese” and “flying flapjacks” provide fun wordplay and alliteration. Thomas’ black-and-white illustrations, with splashes of pink, show computerized cartoon characters; the facial expressions of the friends match the text to aid reading comprehension. The gobble-un creatures look suitably devilish without being too scary.
VERDICT A pleasant early reader for die-hard fans of sugar-coated unicorn adventures.

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