From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—When Princess Eleanor spots a unicorn in the woods near Swinley Castle, she decides he must come with her to Buckingham Palace, not realizing that once the creature leaves both he and the forest will sicken and eventually die. Joyce, the plucky young fairy who observes the unicorn's capture, is sent by her village elders to bring him back. Having never left home before, she has no idea how she is going to manage the task set before her, but she soon encounters castle fairies who give her a map to London, and her quest begins. Meanwhile, Eleanor's sly governess hatches a wicked plot to deceive Eleanor and sell the creature. Unlike most humans, Eleanor can see the fairies that live all around them, and when Joyce arrives at the palace, the two team up to foil the villain. The novel's exposition is somewhat hackneyed and therefore slow going. The characters are stereotypical and never well developed. However, once the fairies and humans are working together, the writing includes humor and cleverness that make the story much more entertaining. Readers who like the triumvirate of fairies, princesses, and unicorns will pick this book up because of the cover. They won't find anything terribly original inside, but they'll enjoy it nonetheless.—Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
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This modern-day fantasy introduces two girls whose lives intersect when they both become devoted to the same unicorn. Joyce is a diminutive fairy whose home, Swinley Forest, can thrive only as long as the seldom-seen unicorn lives there. Princess Eleanor, the only daughter of the English king and queen, finds the beautiful beast during “a Royal hunt” and, encouraged by her wicked governess, takes him home to the castle. The third-person narrative shifts between Princess Eleanor and Joyce, whose brave quest for the unicorn becomes the most satisfying part of the book. Though the characters are rather flat and plot developments are often predictable, not every reader is looking for nuance or surprise. The story’s essential charm will not be lost on those drawn to the book by its pastel-pink cover, which features a girl with wavy blond hair and a unicorn with a wavy blond mane and tail. For larger collections. Grades 3-6. --Carolyn Phelan