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Monday, August 26, 2013

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great, written and illustrated by Bob Shea. Hyperion Books, Hachette. 2013. $17.50 ages 3 and up

"That's not all!
It gets much, much worse!
Check out this great magic
trick that I totally invented...
Okay, close your eyes!
Keep them closed!
While your eyes were
closed, I pulled this quarter
out from behind my ear!"

We've all been where Goat is, I'd guess. Feeling pretty good about ourselves and happy with life as it goes; then, BLAM! Someone shows up and totally deflates our bubble of confidence and self-worth.

This time it's Unicorn. When Goat rides his bike smartly along on his way to school, Unicorn flies by! When Goat makes yummy, gooey nearly perfect rice krispie squares to share, Unicorn makes it 'rain cupcakes'. You get where I'm going with this?

Any child faced with such a dilemma is sure to bow a head or shake a fist, proclaiming....'it's not FAIR!' I know; I taught grade two children for ten years. There is no one in an early years school more aware of fair than they are! So, Goat is no longer feeling good about himself, wishing he had the many supernatural powers that Unicorn is able to display, while whining about it.

That all ends when Unicorn lets Goat know how jealous he feels about all the special things that are part of Goat...the cloven hooves to name just one. Goat is astounded, and then contrite. Perhaps, they can be friends; in fact, maybe by combining their truly wondrous talents, they could become the next super-heroes! Unicorn has an even more awesome idea.

Bob Shea does it again. He creates individual and recognizable voices for his two characters which make this story so much fun to read out loud. Using his signature (and even a bit kooky) artistic style, he shows expression, exuberance and delight in bright colors, sparkly backgrounds and familiar scenarios. Kids are sure to find humor and enjoyment in hearing or reading this book, and perhaps even a chance to share feelings and stories of their own. I'm sure that Goat and Unicorn would encourage them to do just that!

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