Margaret’s Unicorn by Briony May Smith

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. 🦄

Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.

26 Comments:

  1. Ooh, this is beauuuutiful, and I have a unicorn-loving granddaughter who’d soak up every page. Thanks, Jen!

  2. This looks like a really cute book. The illustrations are beautiful!

  3. This book looks enchanting! Can’t wait to read it.

  4. I think we all could use a unicorn to get us through those difficult transitions. I look forward to reading this.

  5. Beautiful! I love the imagination! And baby unicorns!

  6. I’ve been wanting to see this book for some time too, Jennifer. Thank you for the wonderful write up. I love the unicorn tail and so much else about the book. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  7. Looks like this one is a keeper -sweet! Congrats!

  8. This book sounds enchanting and I can’t wait to read it!

  9. Mercy! This is such a lovely book!

  10. This book looks right up my alley. 🙂 Thanks for letting us know about it!

  11. Captivating illustrations! Lovely story between generations, teaching about caring, sharing, and family. A great book to share!

  12. It definitely has an old-timey feel. Beautiful writing and illustrations. Thank you for sharing this sweet book, Jennifer.

    • Hi Vijaya. I think that part of the ‘fun’ if you will, of our blog is that there are 8 of us and we all like different kinds/styles of books. Although I appreciate other styles of illustration and writing I will always be drawn to books that I would have loved as a little girl. That nostalgia is important to me and this book brought me back to all that innocent magic of childhood. The illustrations are so rich, full, and inviting. Thanks so much!

  13. What gorgeous illustrations! It has such a classic storybook feel. Makes me want to look for my own unicorn.

  14. I see what you mean by the color palette–it’s lovely, Jennifer! Love that spread with the floating unicorns!

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