A Unicorn Named Sparkle and the Perfect Valentine

Farrar. (Unicorn Named Sparkle: Bk. 5). Dec. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374314224.
PreS-Gr 2–Lucy and Sparkle are preparing for a Valentine’s party. While Lucy is busy making valentines that will tell each of her friends at the party what she loves about them, Sparkle sneaks off with art supplies to make his own card for Lucy. But the beautiful card he imagines is a lot harder for a unicorn to execute. He painstakingly cuts out a heart with his horn, makes a hoof mark for each of the things he loves about Lucy, and dips his horn into paint to add a “squiggly line” for a poem. Sparkle is pleased with his card, until he sees the beautiful ones on display at the party. Teary-eyed, Sparkle tosses his in the trash. But Lucy finds it, declares it “perfect,” and shares the card she has made for Sparkle as well. Sparkle transitions from bowed dejection to recognition that he is loved as he and Lucy look into each other’s eyes and eventually share a hug. The watercolor-and-ink cartoon illustrations delightfully depict brown-skinned Lucy, with her spiraling black curls, and her goatlike companion. Readers whose skills do not yet meet their expectations will resonate with Sparkle’s experience.
VERDICT The message that one need not be perfect to be loved is an excellent one to share during Valentine’s Day story hours.

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