Review: Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

Unicorn

GoldAardvarkGoldAardvarkGoldAardvarkGoldAardvark 4/5 aardvarks

Format: Picture book
Ages: 3-6
Author and illustrator: Bob Shea
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (published June 2013)
Pages: 40
ISBN-10: 1423159527
ISBN-13: 978-1423159520

Things are a lot different around here since that Unicorn moved in.

Nothing’s been going right for Goat since Unicorn moved to town. Goat bikes to school; Unicorn flies. Goat shows off his magic tricks; Unicorn turns stuff into gold. Goat bakes marshmallow squares “that almost came out right”; Unicorn makes it rain cupcakes.

Goat sulks, full of resentment for this flashy newcomer and his magical capabilities, when Unicorn comes over to investigate his goat cheese pizza. Turns out poor Unicorn can only eat glitter and rainbows (“Darn my sensitive stomach!”). Maybe being a unicorn is not all it’s cracked up to be — and maybe Goat and Unicorn can find a way to be friends.

This book is a giggler, that’s for sure. Some of the humour flies a bit over young kids’ heads — I loved Goat’s fantasy of a Goat/Unicorn crime-fighting duo: “Taste my cloven justice! You’ve been unicorned!” but none of the six or eight kids I’ve read this to seem to catch the old-school superhero references — but I have no problem with a book that tosses the occasional humour bone to the beleaguered parental reader (thanks!) and there’s plenty in this story to keep kids of all ages laughing. The sketchy, irreverent illustrations are a spot-on match for the cheeky text and there’s not a child alive who can’t relate to the idea of being upstaged by a flashier friend. A great jumping-off point for a chat about jealousy, friendship, and how everyone is different, or a silly read that will have you and your kiddo tittering. Your pick.

Review: Potty

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EDITOR’S PICK
GoldAardvarkGoldAardvarkGoldAardvarkGoldAardvark 4/5 aardvarks

Format: Board book
Age: 1-3
Author and illustrator: Leslie Patricelli
Publisher: Candlewick (September 2010)
Pages: 28
ISBN-10: 0763644765
ISBN-13: 978-0763644765

A good variety of books to keep a toddler sitting on the toilet or potty is one important key in the process of toilet training. Even better if you can find a bunch that will remind your child what the hell they’re supposed to be doing. And if they’re entertaining for you, all the better — ‘cuz you’re probably gonna be spending a lot of time in that bathroom. This upbeat, silly board book, told from the perspective of a toddler of ambiguous gender who isn’t sure what to do when it’s time to go, is a simple and exuberant introduction to the potty. Children will delight in watching their parents make the protagonist’s sounds of discomfort as s/he debates what to do — “OOH! MMMM! HAAA! EEEE!” — and will cheer as the victor accomplishes the task at hand. The final page displays an array of underwear in cheerful designs, and my two-year-old loves to look at each one and decide what pair would suit each character in the book. A great pick for anyone engaged in the thankless task that is potty training.