From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7?The majesty and mystery of these mythical beasts are explored in original stories and poems that draw on both Western and Eastern traditions and have strong heroines and heroes. Yolen prefaces each selection with a note that includes facts and folklore. Masterfully woven together are tales both romantic ("Unicorn Tapestry") and humorous ("An Infestation of Unicorns"). "The Unicorn and the Pool" incorporates the legend of the creature's horn as protection against poison and is a profoundly affecting allegory. The touch of the horn heals a traumatized child who has lost the desire to speak in "The Boy Who Drew Unicorns," a story that previously appeared in Bruce Coville's Unicorn Treasury (Doubleday, 1988). Most of the tales are set in "fairy-tale times," but a few are contemporary. Mature readers will appreciate the poetry, which is more abstract than, but reinforces, the stories. Yolen is adept at setting a scene and evoking emotions without being effusive, and readers will delight in her use of irony. This title complements James Cross Giblin's The Truth About Unicorns (HarperCollins, 1991), and it is similar to Coville's Unicorn Treasury. Another magical collection from the creators of Here There Be Dragons (Harcourt, 1993).?Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6-10. Yolen's latest collection of stories and poetry on a single theme will appeal to unicorn lovers, to readers who enjoy tales based on old lore, and to teachers who want fine examples of fantasy to read aloud to their classes. All the selections are intriguing, but "Unicorn Tapestry," the 50-word poem "The Promise," and "De Natura Unicorni," which contains the traditional themes associated with unicorn lore (healing, true goodness, and unqualified love), are particularly good. The poems, which are written in a variety of styles, including some that are quite challenging, are sure to generate interesting discussions about creative expression. In brief notes preceding each selection, Yolen lends insight into the background of the myths and into her own creative process. These notes are as thoughtful and entertaining as the selections and add much to the enjoyment of the stories. Chris Sherman