Uni the Unicorn

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Uni the Unicorn Book Poster Image
Unicorn believes in little girls in cute misfit tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will pick up some unicorn lore, such as the swirly horn that "has the power to heal and mend." On one spread, Uni has a copy of the book Little Women. 

Positive Messages

Don't let others talk you out of your beliefs. Wishes and dreams can come true. It's wonderful to have a friend to share special experiences with. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Uni and the little girl remain steadfast in their beliefs and have vivid imaginations. They are optimistic, hopeful, and kind. Uni dreams of helping forest creatures in need with the girl and of sitting quietly with her and talking about important things. Both the little girl's and Uni's parents are present and loving, despite their "knowing smiles" when their kids express their "silly" beliefs.  

Violence & Scariness
Language

Uni's friends call Uni "silly" for believing little girls are real.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Duck! Rabbit!) manages a playful twist on the idea of little girls believing unicorns are real by having as the main character a unicorn who believes little girls are real. The outcast Uni dreams of one day romping with a real girl, while a little girl far away is certain one day she'll become friends with a real unicorn. There's no real ending to the story, other than both characters sticking to their guns -- and their dreams. Rosenthal's wit, whimsy, and bright cartoon-like illustrations make it work.

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What's the story?

Uni, like other unicorns, had a "special swirly horn with the power to heal and mend" and could make wishes come true. But Uni was different because Uni believed little girls were real. The other unicorns laughed and said, "Everyone knows there's no such thing as little girls! They're just make-believe!" But Uni dreams of a "strong smart wonderful magical little girl" to play, explore, heal other animals, and slide down rainbows with. Meanwhile, somewhere far away, a real little girl believes in unicorns and is mocked by her friends for it: "Ha, ha, ha. Unicorns are just make-believe!" Yet she's certain there's a "strong smart wonderful magical unicorn ... just waiting to be her friend."  

Is it any good?

UNI THE UNICORN will appeal to readers who like magic and princess stories and enjoy the stylized pictures of a sparkly, friendly unicorn with a twinkling eye. But the fun is in how author Amy Krouse Rosenthal flips the usual idea of people believing in unicorns with a misfit unicorn believing in people.

There's a gentle message to stick to what you believe in no matter what others say, but kids will probably just delight in the engaging pictures and the happy possibility that the two characters will one day meet and be happy in a magical forest. The conclusion may be too open-ended for some, but the final image of them together will probably be enough for many.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about unicorns. Why do these mythical creatures remain so fascinating through the ages? 

  • How do you like the twist of seeing a unicorn paint pictures of an imagined little girl and read a fairy tale about a little girl?  

  • Why do we like fairy tales so much? Is it the colorful characters or the magic in them? 

Book details

Themes & Topics

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