Margaret’s Unicorn, by Briony May Smith is a book that I have wanted to wrap my hands around for some time. I just adore Briony May Smith’s captivating illustrations. Look at that unicorn’s curling long tail! The book is exactly what my picture-book-loving soul needed and I’m so happy to be able to talk about it to you today.
What person does not want a baby unicorn (note that I said person. Okay… maybe I should have said child?). Margaret moves with her parents to a very different kind of place than she is used to living, so her family can be near her Grandmother. The magic of the setting is inviting and we are not surprised when Margaret finds a baby unicorn on her first walk along the Moors. She takes the unicorn home and Grandma knows all about the unicorns that come through once a year. She teaches Margaret how to care for her unicorn and everyone accepts Margaret’s mystical friend as a temporary pet. Margaret knows that her unicorn will need to leave in the spring, but enjoys the time that they have together.
I can’t say that this book is full of huge surprises or unexpected twists. Other than that unicorns exist and make cool pets. What it delivers for me is an unbelievably magically believable story. The baby unicorn is there to comfort Margaret as she learns about, and to appreciate, her new home. It feels like a classic picture book that I would have spent my evenings begging to have it read to me again and again. And I would have spent my days wandering through the bushes searching for my own baby unicorn.
Briony’s writing is lyrical. It is a wordier picture book than some, but I think that’s a positive and will appeal to a slightly older age group to be able to read on their own, as well as a younger age listener who wants to be read a nighttime fairy tale.
The illustrations stole my heart. The color palette is rich and earthy, hearkening to the landscape hues of the english countryside. The mixed media artwork is darlingly cute, but not cartoony, which adds to the believability that I might find a unicorn in my own flower garden tonight.
Because I assure you… I will be looking. ?