Review of The Teeny-Weeny Unicorn

The Teeny-Weeny Unicorn The Teeny-Weeny Unicorn
by Shawn Harris; illus. by the author
Primary    Knopf    48 pp.
2/24    9780593571880    $18.99
Library ed.  9780593571897    $21.99
e-book ed.  9780593571903    $10.99

The title page of this adventure features both a unicorn and a rainbow, but things quickly shift from cutesy to a more absurd and sidelong tone. The unnamed teeny-weeny unicorn is the smallest member of his family. This is obviously a relatable condition for the potential reader or listener, but this unicorn really is small—about the size of a chess piece, too small to jump over a taco. His siblings, Fancy Annie and Prince Butterscotch, are condescending and mean. But size is relative, and when our hero inadvertently steps on and squishes the sports car belonging to an even tinier, tough-talking gnome (who then demands a settlement of $250,000), he realizes that in gnome terms he’s a giant. The debt gets sorted out, but even better, the teeny-weeny unicorn gets a day alone at his family’s palace home playing games by himself—and the realization that he’s a perfect size just as he is. The illustrations, in oil pastel, feature a dynamic relationship between text and images and hefty lashings of pink. Harris (Have You Ever Seen a Flower?, rev. 7/21) again uses the smearing potential of pastels to great effect in showing the teeny protagonist accelerating from walking to trotting to cantering to galloping. This original take on unicorn life and troubles elicits a wry grin on every page.

From the January/February 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.