A collection of eleven stories and one poem about unicorns, most with 1998 copyrights; one is from 1991. All are average or above average (no dogs, here). The two best are "Beyond the Fringe" by Gregory Maguire and "The New Girl" by Sean Stewart. Maguire's is a period piece about a medieval village attacked by heathens, in which a grandmother uses unicorn "threads" to fringe a magic carpet so her son-in-law and grandson can escape. There is not enough room for the old woman and she sacrifices herself. Stewart's tale (the last in the volume) is also set in an olden-time village, where there is a captive unicorn. The unicorn is kept to wink good luck on babies' birthdays, or nod his horn as a charm for a good harvest. Then, one day, a new village maiden of slovenly habits is assigned to tend the unicorn after his original girl ran off with a soldier. The new girl and the unicorn both learn new lessons in the meaning of love. As I learned when discussing another of Coville's Unicorn Chronicles series with a sixth grader, she has this book, too. "Oh yes, it is very good, really good." The illustrations, though b/w, are evocative and appropriate. Will fill a need with those fey students who still want to believe. KLIATT Codes: JSARecommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, Scholastic, 198p, illus, 20cm, $4.50. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Sherry S. Hoy; Libn., Tuscarora Jr. H.S., Mifflintown, PA, May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
VOYA - Joyce Yen
This collection of short stories and poems explores the special relationship and bond between humans and unicorns. While story themes vary widely, from surviving war to finding one's niche at school to taking care of family, the common theme-the importance of being true to oneself, whether a unicorn or a human-pervades the collection. For those who believe, the unicorn will show its face and share its magic. Not only do humans benefit from the magic of the unicorn, but believers also have a kind of human magic from which unicorns can benefit. These stories let readers explore unicorns in their own world, unicorns on present day Earth, and unicorn experiences from long ago. The stories not only encourage readers to believe in unicorns, but they also teach life lessons, such as the value of family, of telling the truth, of imagination, and of sharing and giving. The opening story, taken from editor Coville's The Unicorn Chronicles (Scholastic, 1994), is The Guardian of Memory. The story transports readers to Luster, the new world of the unicorns, where every twenty-five years a new unicorn is chosen to keep watch over Earth, in order to maintain peaceful coexistence with humans. It is a story of sacrifice, as those who cross over into the other world leave behind what they know but learn more deeply about love through their journey. In Kathryn Lay's The Healing Truth, Crystal, an imaginative girl trying to create an identity for herself in her new middle school, learns about the value of truth through her interactions with an ugly unicorn stranded on Earth, who must earn human love in order to become beautiful and return to his world. The one disappointment in this collection is The Ugly Unicorn, written as an ancient Chinese legend about a fair blind maiden, Kwa Wei, whose blindness allows her to see the inner beauty of the ugly unicorn. The partially developed plot line is fragmented, unconvincing, and rushed. The remaining stories and poems are exciting and thought-provoking. Even readers who shy away from the science fiction/fantasy genres will enjoy these short tales and their special messages. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).
The ALAN Review - Lisa A. Wroble
Twelve enchanting tales are gathered together in A Glory of Unicorns. Unicorn enthusiasts know that a gathering of unicorns is called a glory. Fans of fantasy will also appreciate the fitting title after devouring these stories. Woven throughout each tale is the theme of finding the magic in life through the help of a unicorn. Editor Bruce Coville, known for his series "The Unicorn Chronicles," uses the first story to explain to nonbelievers of unicorns a bit about these magical creatures. Other tales in the collection range from brief encounters with unicorns to full-fledged fantasy. Magical wallpaper allows a boy to receive and return a unicorn's love. Unicorn hair woven into a rug saves a boy's life. A magical song summons a unicorn for a girl's grandfather. The true magic in these tales, however, is the hope and beauty for real life that they succeed in displaying.
Children's Literature - Yumiko Bendlin
People have been fascinated by this mythical creature for a long time. Where can I see a Unicorn? Where do they live? How big are they? It still fascinates all of us. This is a perfect book for young people who wonder about this magical and gracious animal. Each story in this wonderful collection will take the reader to a journey to find what is "pure" and "good" in life. We discover that there are many different kinds of unicorns, and that not all are graceful and beautiful. There are unicorns that live in China, in the wall of the bedroom, in posters and in school lockers. Unicorns can live anywhere, as long as there is a believer. At the end of every story, unicorns help characters in the stories realize what is valuable in life. These are not folk tales, nor fairy tales. They are real stories of real unicorns. They will surely make young readers admire unicorns and believe that there is a unicorn for each of us, protecting us from bad things and guiding us to feel good about ourselves.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-7In these 11 short stories and a poem, settings vary from the here and now to the long ago and far away, with some fantasy worlds included as well. All of the stories have young protagonists. The selections do not feature the pink and pretty unicorns of children's toys-they are sometimes splendid, sometimes ugly, sometimes dangerous, and sometimes glorious. The mood is somber in many of the tales. Although they usually end well, it is often at great cost to those involved. True belief doesn't come cheaply, and the power and magic of these creatures require their human counterparts to have steadfast hearts and willing souls. Each of the selections is illustrated with a full-page black-and-white drawing. Aimed at an older audience than Coville's popular Sarah's Unicorn (HarperCollins, 1979), this is a good choice for fans of these evocative beasts.Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA