Thelma the Unicorn, by Aaron Blabey

Thelma the UnicornThelma felt a little sad,
In fact, she felt forlorn.
You see, she wished with all her heart
to be a unicorn.

Thelma the horse wants to be a unicorn, and with the help of a carefully placed carrot and an accident involving pink paint and glitter, her wish comes true. Soon she is famous, and travelling the world to the cheers of her adoring fans. But Thelma discovers that fame has its pitfalls, and finds he self wanting to be back home with her best friend Otis.

Thelma the Unicorn is a humorous, endearing story in rhyme about self acceptance, popularity and the pitfalls of the celebrity lifestyle. Thelma seems silly, but she learns from her mistakes, and Otis is a loyal friend. The acrylic illustrations are a wonderful complement to the text, with a diverse cast of characters all with big eyes and lots of toothy smiles. Thelma’s pink sparkly coat is contrasted with dark colours as well as use of white space.

The rhyming text rolls along with no scansion problem,s making it perfect for reading aloud, and for the repeated readings which it will no doubt demand from young readers.

Thelma the Unicorn, by Aaron Blabey
Scholastic, 2015
ISBN 9781743625804

Available from good bookstores and online.

Unicorn Riders Series, by Aleesah Darlison

‘Kidnapped!’ Ellabeth gasped. ‘When?’
Quinn was horrified. ‘Who would do this?’…
‘Like it or not, there are terrible people in our world,’ Jala said. ‘As much as we love the prince, others would wish to profit from his misfortune.’
Willow’s eyes narrowed. ‘I bet that horrid Lord Valerian is behind this.’

Unicorn Riders is a new series filled with lots of the things young female readers love – pretty colours, unicorns, and decorative layout. But, along with lots of ‘girly’ stuff there are also lots of deeper bits for readers to get their teeth into. Over the four books there is plenty of action, plot and character development and a range of settings.

There are four unicorn riders, magically chosen to ride the unicorns and protect the kingdom of Avamay. And, with four books in the series (so far), each girl is featured in one story, though all four appear in every book. The riders’ motto is We Ride as One, which suggests unity, but, as with any group of kids (adults, too, come to think of it) there are times of conflict. Each girl has her own stregths and foibles, and is paired with a unicorn which has magical powers. Together the girls and their unicorns must work to keep the kingdom safe.

In Quinn’s Riddles, the young prince has been kidnapped, and Quinn must use her abilities to figure out the riddles left by the kidnappers. In Willow’s Challenge, the Riders get a message from Willow’s uncle, begging them to bring him a magical elixir before he dies. Willow must help the uncle she believes once betrayed her family. In Krystal’s Choice, the Unicorn Riders head to Miramar to solve the mysterious disappearance of children. There Krystal is tempted to leave the riders. In Ellabeth’s Test, the final of the four books. Ellabeth has to take on the role of leader on a mission to collect diamond scales from the Dakkar Serpent.

Each book is illustrated, with illustrations on most spreads ranging from whole page illustrations to small pictures in the corners of pages, and there are also butterflies on either side of the page numbers, and other embellishments which add visual appeal. Each book bears a different coloured cover, but features a shield with Unicorns and the group’s motto.

Likely to appeal particularly to girls aged 7 to 10.

Quinn's Riddles (Unicorn Riders)

Quinn’s Riddles , ISBN 9781921529979

Willow's Challenge (Unicorn Riders)

Willow’s Challenge , ISBN 9781921529986

Krystal's Choice (Unicorn Riders)
Krystal’s Choice , ISBN 9781921529993

Ellabeth's Test (Unicorn Riders)
Ellabeth’s Test, ISBN 9781921720000&

All books by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Jill Brailsford and published by Walker Books, 2011