Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Ever since Unicorn moved into the neighborhood, Goat has been feeling out of sorts. Goat thought his bike was cool-until he saw that Unicorn could fly to school! Goat made marshmallow squares that almost came out right, but Unicorn made it rain cupcakes! Unicorn is such a show-off, how can Goat compete? When Goat and Unicorn share a piece of pizza, Goat learns that being a unicorn might not be all it's cracked up to be. And when Unicorn shows his admiration for Goat, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Bob Shea (www.bobshea.com) is the author-illustrator of four Dinosaur vs books, and many other picture books, including I'm a Shark (Balzer and Bray). He also wrote Big Plans, illustrated by Lane Smith. Dinosaur was inspired by his son, Ryan. Bob is an eager and talented promoter of his books. He has his own graphic design company and lives in Connecticut.
Goat can't stop comparing himself to Unicorn and coming up short. With slumped shoulders and a sulky frown, Goat is the picture of dejection. Before Unicorn moved in, he thought he was pretty cool. But now? He just can't compete. Goat bakes marshmallow squares to share with his friends, but Unicorn makes it rain cupcakes! (Brightly colored ones with adorable smiles, at that.) Goat tries to wow everyone with his new magic trick, but Unicorn is able to turn things into gold. "Dopey Unicorn! Thinks he's so great!" Goat scoffs and stamps in a jealous huff. But suddenly, one slice of goat-cheese pizza changes everything. Goat finds out that Unicorn is actually envious of him, too. Who knew that cloven hooves were so awesome? Shea examines a universal struggle that readers of all ages face: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Unicorn may seem like he has it all-on every page he is surrounded by a glow of love and adoration, with rainbows and sparkles ready to burst forth at any moment-but that doesn't mean he's content. Even unicorns want to eat something besides glitter now and then. Brilliant in execution and hysterical in dialogue; Shea's pretty great, too. (Picture book. 3-6)—Kirkus
Once again, Shea (Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, rev. 9/08; Dinosaur vs. the Potty, rev. 1/11) tackles a difficult childhood emotion-jealousy-with humor while also recognizing its complexity. Goat begins the book by telling us, "Things are a lot different around here since that Unicorn moved in. I thought I was pretty cool when I rode my bike to school. Until that show-off went flying by!" Unicorn, the shiny newcomer, seems to be better at everything, and when Goat's admiring chorus of five small creatures shifts its allegiance to the sparkling, magical Unicorn, Goat gets really, really angry. Just when you think you know where this is headed, Shea swerves from the predictable path with some age-appropriate silliness involving Unicorn's jealousy of Goat's goat-cheese pizza. By the end of the book Goat and Unicorn have become buddies with complementary skill sets. Shea's cartoon illustrations use a bright and varied palette and employ his signature minimalist style, while exaggerated facial expressions emphasize the difference between the central characters: Goat's matter-of-fact grumpiness and Unicorn's wide-eyed sparkliness. To emphasize their differences further, Goat's narrative is shown in an old-fashioned typewriter font, while Unicorn gets a curvy sans serif in various colors. Shea's honest portrayal of negative emotions mixed with offbeat comedy should make this a winner. lolly robinson—Horn Book
Rainbows, smiling cupcakes, and flying unicorns in one picture book can be a recipe for a cutesy-wootsy disaster, but not so in this hilarious friendship story. Nothing has gone right for Goat since Unicorn arrived. He seems to best Goat in every way, including making it rain cupcakes. "Dopey Unicorn! Thinks he's so great!...Look at me! I'm Unicorn! I think I'm so-o-o cool!" the goat cries, in full-on Willems's Pigeon mode, while sporting a plunger in mockery of Unicorn's horn. However, when an unlikely scenario involving goat-cheese pizza brings the two together, Goat discovers that Unicorn isn't so full of himself after all "Just look at your fantastic horn"; "Eh, it's just for show. All it's good for is pointing" and they become fast friends. Shea's cartoon illustrations are perfectly suited to expressing the characters' varied emotions while keeping the story very tongue-in-cheek, with lots of giggle-worthy details. An ideal choice for fans of silliness. Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY—SLJ
Goat feels upstaged by Unicorn, who seems to do everything better than he does. (Goat can almost prepare marshmallow squares; Unicorn can make it rain cupcakes.) But everything changes when Unicorn discovers Goat's special gifts: goat cheese! cloven hooves! ("What is up with those hooves?" Unicorn asks. "Those things are out of control.") Now it's Unicorn's turn to be deflated, even kicking rainbows out of the way, until a terrific idea is born. Together, they will be unstoppable. Goat and Unicorn are simply shaped cartoonlike figures with colored bodies and faces that are highly expressive, though executed with a minimum of lines. When Unicorn is front and center, the pages are full of soft, bright rainbow colors with stars and lots of golden images. Goat is pictured less energetically, and his color is fittingly blue. But as things brighten for him, so does his bright orange background. Then, as friends, the duo are surrounded by a circle of gold. Shea's cleverly written tale makes this a standout, but there's substance here, too. The grass may always seem greener, but the message comes across that everybody has special strengths, and togetherness can often maximize them. This tale of discovered friendship will delight unicorn fans and perhaps create new fans for goats. - Edie Ching—Booklist
How can an ordinary goat compete when a unicorn with magical powers moves to town? The goat bakes marshmallow squares. The unicorn can make it rain cupcakes! The goat tries a magic trick. The unicorn can turn things into gold! It's no coincidence that the goat's accomplishments look like those of the average second-grader; his sulky tone sounds like one, too ("Dopey Unicorn! Thinks he's so great!"). It turns out that the unicorn actually has some goat envy ("Whoa! What is up with your hooves? Those things are out of control!"). Now, it's the goat's turn to show a little nonchalance: "Oh, these? These bad boys are cloven.' It means they're split at the end." "Stupid regular hooves," mutters the unicorn. Shea (Cheetah Can't Lose) embellishes his characters' blobby bodies with black line accents and, in the case of the unicorn, sparkles, stars, and rainbows. Now firm friends, unicorn and goat fantasize about defeating evil with their respective superpowers: "Taste my cloven justice!" yells the goat. It's a great study in grass-is-greener envy management and a nonstop giggle generator. Ages 2 6. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)—PW