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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Do You Believe In Unicorns? Written and illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2018. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"No, I do not think it
could be a unicorn in
disguise. That's ridiculous.

It's just a horse - a horse
who woke up with messy
hair. That's why it's
wearing a hat.

Tell me this - why would
a unicorn want to hide its

Is it a horse? Hard to tell, isn't it? It has all the characteristics of a horse when you see it on the cover.
Open the book past the purple, horseshoe-patterned endpapers and you can see it's even housed in a horse's stable. It certainly looks like a horse in a hat.

A monkey wrench is thrown in when the author questions if it might actually be a unicorn? The argument goes in favor of it being a horse with messy hair, who likes the color red, and who needs protection from the sun. Other horses begin to appear on the book's pages, and the conjecture continues. Aren't unicorns hard to find? What is the reader to think?

When the three hats worn by the horses are seen lying beside the river where some splashing is happening, the mystery may be solved. Not quite so fast! As the horses travels on, a spire, a mountain peak and tall grasses are strategically placed to make the answer unclear. Will we ever know?

Wait! What about that lizard? 

I love the straightforward narration, the humorous, appealing pen and ink and watercolor artwork and the interactive nature of the text. It most certainly is a horse. However, there is enough guesswork to make little ones question what they are really seeing. Subtle, and a trifle unsettling, this is a perfect choice for reading aloud with early years students. Little ones appreciate guessing games; this book will be no exception! 

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