Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All

Disney/Hyperion. Jul. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368009447.
PreS-Gr 1–Unicorn is ready to start school with his friend Goat, but becomes upset when he is not the center of attention. In an attempt to win back favor, Unicorn dons a new fancy look, covers everyone in glitter, and throws flaming birthday cakes into a crowded soccer game. He is told to go home, leaving Unicorn to doubt himself and his friendships. Shea never fails to deliver and the follow-up to Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great does not disappoint. Unicorn and Goat’s classmates include some familiar Shea characters, including Dinosaur and Ballet Cat, along with a humorous ice cream cone and piece of toast. Much like Unicorn, the illustrations dazzle and excite, and the text is hilarious and packed with rich vocabulary for young readers. Text and images in the margins and background are equally as engaging and funny, inviting readers to revisit the pages again and again for small details one might have missed. While Unicorn is home and depressed following his failed attempts at gaining positive attention, the pages take on a darker tone. His eyes become bloodshot and he wears a bathrobe, another example of subtle details that are among Shea’s strengths. Eventually, the pages return to a cheerful palette of pastels and sparkles once readers reach the happy ending complete with a valuable lesson about friendship.
VERDICT A sensational choice for any collection and a welcome addition for Shea’s many fans

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