Unicorn Boy

First Second. (Unicorn Boy: Bk. 1). Mar. 2024. 208p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781250830272; pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781250830265.
Gr 3-8–Brian Reyes is “totally normal” for the first few years of his life…but then he grows a unicorn horn, meets a talking muffin that is actually a cursed wizard, and his best friend Avery is taken by the Skull-King. Comics-loving, nonbinary Avery has always been a staunch friend, so naturally Brian has to travel to the underworld with a black cat to rescue them. Fortunately, Mandrake Maggie and Lorraine, the Gran Reaper, are on Brian’s side. Brian’s unicorn horn provides a soundtrack to the adventure (it sings), and along the way, he learns to believe in magic and in himself and use his powers to help others. His actions as narrated omniciently into a volume called “The Legend of Unicorn Boy” (a la Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager), and with a lot of blank pages at the end, there’s room for a sequel. Most pages have five panels, with vibrant colors, except for the Skull-King’s backstory, which is sepia-toned. Brian has brown skin and dark brown hair; Avery has pale skin, blond hair, and earrings.
VERDICT With the humor of Meggie Ramm’s Batcat and the layered hero’s journey of Ben Hatke’s Things in the Basement, this is a true hero of a tale.

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