Parents' Guide to

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Fierce flying unicorns help kids form fiercer friendships.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

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Kids say (3 ):

Fierce flying unicorns help kids form even fiercer friendships in this exciting tale. The novelty of unicorns who like to eat bloody things and belch and fart fire doesn't wear off. Which is good because it's the one element that's truly unique to this series opener. Fantasy fans have seen elemental magic before and are no strangers to magical training schools -- though this one is full of awesome tree houses. They've also seen books where kids bond strongly to animals (the Spirit Animals series, His Dark Materials). Put all that together and add some rampaging wild unicorns, forbidden magic, and a unicorn stealer on the loose, and it feels fresh enough and even rather exciting at times.

What really gives this story wings and a spiral horn, though, is Skandar and his budding friendships with the three other unicorn riders he lives and trains with. Bobby (don't call her Roberta) is straight-talking and full of spirit. Flo is quiet and careful and doesn't like all the attention her coveted and powerful silver unicorn brings her. Mitchell is brash but a careful planner who slowly warms up to Skandar, even though he knows about his dangerous secret, one that could get him killed. The tension builds over this secret, and the friends become more bonded, almost as strongly as they are bonded to their new unicorns. It's the biggest strength of this story, and let's hope this bond of friendship carries through in the series to come.

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