The Legend of the First Unicorn: Traditional Scottish Tales by Lari Don, illustrated by Nataša Ilincic

 The Legend of the First Unicorn: Traditional Scottish Tales by Lari Don, illustrated by Nataša Ilincic, Floris Books, 9781782506478, 2020

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Traditional Literature

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book:  A tale of magic and friendship about the first unicorn in Scotland.  It is wonderfully illustrated and well told by Lari Don.  Her telling of this mythical creature, loved by many elementary girls, was inspired by ancient folklore.   The beautifully detailed illustrations were done in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils.  They enhance the telling of the story and will increase the love for unicorns.

It is the story of a young prince who lost his smile.  Everyone tried to make him smile to no avail.  The court magician created a magical creature, a golden lion-like animal.  His granddaughter, Hana, wished to invent a different magical beast, a pearly white animal- with the body of a horse, the nimble hooves of a goat, and the glittering horn of a gazelle.   She did just that and ran to show the Prince the first-ever unicorn galloping through the trees. The two of them chased after the unicorn all day, but still no smile for the Prince.  The next morning Hana and Donald look for the unicorn only to find him fighting with the lion monster her grandfather created.  Donald, with his sword, fights off the lion monster with the unicorn.  Hana had run off to get starlight and, when she returns, she throws it at the lion monster and it turns him into a golden cat.  Donald and the unicorn comfort each other and a smile returns to the Prince’s face.

The backpages provide information on the unicorn as the national animal of Scotland, inspiration for this story, and a majestic unicorn statue illustration.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  A lovely Scottish folk literature read aloud for elementary students and anyone who loves hearing stories about unicorns.  In addition, if you have read the other two tales in the series: Picture Keplies Traditional Scottish Tales, The Secret of the Kelpie and The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster.

Who should buy this book?  elementary schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ?  Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Julie Durmis, JC Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

Date of review:  August 22, 2020

This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Starred Review, Folk Tale, Lari Don, Legend, Nataša Ilincic, Unicorns and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.