Margaret’s Unicorn by Briony May Smith

Margaret’s Unicorn by Briony May Smith
Publisher: Anne Schwartz Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A perfect gift for the unicorn lovers in your life, this lovely and utterly transporting picture book tells the story of what every little girl wishes would happen to her: a girl finds and takes care of a lost baby unicorn.

Margaret’s whole world changes when her family moves to a cottage by the sea to be near her grandma. One evening, Margaret spots a mist over the water. No, that’s not mist…clouds maybe? No, they’re unicorns descending onto the shore! They vanish as quickly as they’d appeared, but accidentally leave behind a baby, tangled in the weeds. Margaret, lonely and in need of a friend, brings him home and cares for him through the fall and winter. Together, they chase the waves, stomp on frozen puddles, and build snow unicorns. When spring finally comes around, and the other unicorns return, Margaret’s takes her small friend back to his family… but these two won’t forget one another. And though Margaret misses him, she has made a new friend, and her new cottage is starting to feel like home. With all the feel of a classic, here is a picture book young readers will want to revisit again and again.

No act of kindness is ever wasted.

Moving can be a stressful experience, especially for kids who usually don’t have any input at all into where their family lives. I smiled and nodded along during the first few scenes as Margaret discussed how uneasy she felt in her new home. It set up the rest of the storyline nicely as she tried to adjust to all of the things that looked, smelled, felt, and sounded different from where she’d lived before.

It would have been nice to see a few more scenes dedicated to the care and feeding of a unicorn. One section discussed how strictly people needed to follow the rules of what to feed these magical animals, and some of them seemed like things that would be quite difficult to stick to over the winter given how limited the choices were and how many of them are hard to find when the growing season ends. If Margaret or her parents had mentioned more about this and explained how they found solutions for the trickiest portions of keeping their new guest hydrated and fed, I would have happily gone with a full five-star rating as I loved everything else about it.

With that being said, I adored the main character’s relationship with her unicorn. Margaret was a sweet kid who did everything she could to keep her new little friend safe and comfortable over the winter. This was something I’d happily read over and over again because of how beautiful the plot was, especially at the end when another spring arrived.

Margaret’s Unicorn was heartwarming.