My dear bookish friends!
Today is my stop on the blogtour for Have You Seen the New Forest Unicorn? by Carole Smith, and this was such an enjoyable read with beautiful illustrations, I have to tell you all about it! So please read on to find out more about the book and what I liked so much about it!
A big thank you goes to LiterallyPR and the author for my ecopy of this book and my spot on the tour (none of which influenced my rating in any way).
About the Book
Have you seen the New Forest unicorn? You may be lucky enough to see the unicorn the next time you’re in the forest! It may be hiding behind the Gorse by the Stone Water Trough at Wootton. Maybe Willow was right… it may go to Setley Pond for a drink! It could even be visiting the Trolls that live under Wootton Bridge. Perhaps the unicorn did visit Hincheslea, and saw the Hot Air Balloon? And on a walk at Wilverley Plain or Longslade, you may be lucky enough to see the New Forest ponies grazing or Drummer, Merlin, Peewee, Riley, Willow and Juliet. If you go to the Deer Sanctuary at Bolderwood or to Pipers Wait you may even see the Monarch himself! But on a dark clear night if you look up, the Unicorn may appear among the stars in the sky over The New Forest. Drummer, Merlin, Peewee, Riley, Willow and Juliet will keep looking, will you join them? The New Forest Ponies all roam free and wild within The New Forest, if you visit, please remember to look and to admire them, but never ever touch or feed them.
Have You Seen the New Forest Unicorn? is a lovely chapter book full of magic, friendship and wonder; it is the perfect bedtime story because the chapters are so short, but as an adult with no kids I enjoyed this book just as much! You can just read a chapter here and there and come back to it whenever you feel like it, but you may as well race through it in one sitting because it is just so short and sweet!
The story follows six little foals in the New Forest – they are called Willow, Peewee, Juliet, Riley, Drummer and Merlin, and some of them believe there is a unicorn in the forest, while some of them don’t, but all together they set out to find the unicorn regardless! I loved the descriptions of the New Forest and was hoping there would be a map to illustrate all the places in the book, I think that would have been a lovely addition! It was very helpful that there is a list of all the characters at the start of the book, as the beginning was a little bit hard to follow because all the different characters were introduced so quickly after each other. However, after a while I got to know them and followed the who is who more easily.
I loved that almost every chapter was followed by a beautiful illustration – the pencil drawings look very delicate and enhance the beauty of this book nicely. I think it makes for a lovely bedtime story, because there is some bit of mystery around the unicorn and the question “Does it exist / does it not exist?”, but overall there isn’t any big excitement (I mean this in a positive sense!) that would keep children up for long, even though one does want to see this question answered! I also think it would work nicely as a chapter book to practice reading, as the chapters are very short and the beautiful illustrations work nicely as a reward.
Overall I really liked this story, I think it has a nice aura of mystery around the unicorn question, there are some quests and adventures, the cast of characters was fun and I liked how every foal had their own personality traits. The ending is very sweet and special and definitely rewarding. I liked that there were some educational moments in the story too and the artwork in the book is absolutely special – all fans of horses (big and small!) will love following the herd around the New Forest area on their adventures! As your typical horse girl I can tell you I would have definitely adored this as a child already.
From an adult perspective maybe I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot that was happening and even though I loved the short chapters, I was still sometimes wondering if some chapters could have had a bit more flesh to them and been a little longer maybe, but as I said, this might be different for younger readers. Overall, I did enjoy this book a lot and will rate it 4 stars – and I can’t wait to read more by this author!
Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you will pick up this book for a horse lover in your life (or for yourself!).