A Unicorn Named Sparkle

illus. by Amy Young. 32p. Farrar. Jul. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374301859. POP
PreS-Gr 1—When a girl named Lucy sees an ad in the paper selling unicorns for 25 cents, she sends off for one right away. Lucy has high expectations for her new unicorn, whom she plans to name Sparkle as she rides on his majestic back and impresses all of her friends. However, when Sparkle arrives, he is spotted, short, and mischievous and has fleas. At first Lucy wants to return him to the man she bought him from, but she soon warms up to him when she realizes that, despite his flaws, Sparkle is actually very sweet. Children will laugh at Sparkle's naughty antics but also root for him to win Lucy over, feel heartbroken when she initially chooses to return Sparkle, and cheer when the two are reunited at the end. This is a humorous and charming story about managing unrealistic expectations, choosing a pet, and acting responsibly. Young skillfully draws the endearingly scruffy Sparkle so that even though he more closely resembles an odd-looking "goat" than a unicorn, he is still undeniably adorable. The last page, in which a smiling Lucy declares, "Welcome Home!" and embraces a visibly happy Sparkle, is the perfect endnote.
VERDICT This funny, heartfelt story about a girl and her not-so-perfect unicorn will be a hit for storytime or one-on-one sharing.

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