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.

Nog and the Land of Noses, by Bruce Whatley

Nog has a pretty fine looking nose, reader’s will note, if size has any bearing. But Nog’s nose doesn’t do anything special. Everybody else in the land of Nog has a special nose which does something special – whether it’s a fat nose for sheltering others from rain, or a long nose for picking fruit, or even a nose for balancing things on. But Nog’s nose does nothing – it just sits there on his face.

In the land of noses everyboydy’s nose was different and everybody had a nose that did something special.
Except for Nog.

Nog has a pretty fine looking nose, reader’s will note, if size has any bearing. But Nog’s nose doesn’t do anything special. Everybody else in the land of noses has a special nose which does something special – whether it’sĀ  a fat nose for sheltering others from rain, or a long nose for picking fruit, or even a nose for balancing things on. But Nog’s nose does nothing – it just sits there on his face. Nog’s grandmother has been saying since he was a baby that he has a ‘nose for trouble’ but nobody understands what that means – until Nog smells an approaching pepper storm one day, and saves the whole land from being exposed – because in a land of spectacular noses, nothing could be worse than a pepper storm!

Nog and the Land of Noses is recognisably a Bruce Whatley offering – whimsical, funny, yet subtly ‘right’ in its message that everyone has a purpose or talent. Whilst Nog hasn’t discovered his nose’s specialness, it seems more to worry him than it does those around him, so this is not so much a story of being accepted as it is a tale of self-acceptance and discovering one’s self worth.

Whatley’s illustrations are, as always, a delight, with the whimsy of fantastically shaped noses complemented by fantastically shaped owners of those noses – some are bird like, othersĀ  more like moles or elephants, but all beautifully rendered so that each character is distinct. The colour palette is a kind of gentle fruit salad , with lots of white space so the focus is on those characters.

This is laugh out loud funny and will bear repeated readings.

Nog and the Land of Noses

Nog and the Land of Noses, by Bruce Whatley
Scholastic Press, 2011
ISBN 978174169809

This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.