A Glory of Unicorns by Bruce Coville
Bruce Coville (the compiler and editor of this anthology) promised in his introduction no sappy unicorns, tells us that unicorn love is hard and demanding, and unicorns themselves neither safe nor sweet. However, four stories into this book I found that was exactly what the book was delivering — sweet, dreamy, dear little unicorns. Contradicting his own words Coville brings us the story of ‘The Guardian of Memory’ in which unicorns have names such as ‘Arabella Skydancer’ and ‘Manda Seafoam’ and are entirely domesticated, speaking unicorns. Likewise, nearly every other author in this book seems to have no knowledge of true unicorn lore — that these incredibly shy creatures, who dwelt in the Garden of Eden, could only possibly be approached by a pure virgin maiden and even then never ridden. Many of the stories have unicorns as tame, human-loving creatures, and one only need read the poem ‘The Dream-Child’ to get the general attitude towards unicorns in this collection: lines like “starlight spinning down your spiraled horn/the dream-child, the cloud-maned”. Sigh.
However, I am being rather harsh in this assessment, as this book is obviously meant for young girls, and my expectations were no doubt far too high. Young unicorn lovers, who are quite happy to view unicorns as magical horses will be quite content with such a collection and some of the stories aren’t so sickly-sweet that parents won’t find enjoyment in reading them aloud.
A few that rise above the par are ‘Tearing Down the Unicorns’, the only story that addresses the issue of today’s views on unicorns being adorable little ponies; ‘Child of Faerie’, a nicely written and conceived story of Afton, a faerie child who chose to live for a while in the human world, but is now being called back to her true home when her human family needs her most; and ‘The Ugly Unicorn’, the creation of an Oriental myth of a young blind girl mistakenly believing that the ugly Liu-mu is the beautiful Poh unicorn.
Girls already initiated into Coville’s ‘Luster’ series will no doubt love his ‘Guardian of Memory’ story, set in the same world, and parents as well as children should like ‘The Healing Truth’, the story of a compulsive liar that finds a unicorn in a supply closet; ‘A Song for Croaker Nordge’ of an old man who places his hopes of finding a unicorn on his grand-daughter and ‘Story Hour’, the tale of an old woman teaching her grand-daughter the secrets of finding a unicorn but keeping it secret by telling her the story of the Goblin King.
Other stories destined to be less popular because of their ambiguity are ‘Beyond the Fringe,’ in which an old woman weaves a carpet for her family as bandits raid their village, ‘The Unicorns of Kabustan’ in which a boy hiding from war releases a series of unicorns that try to put an end to the fighting, ‘Stealing Dreams’, of a boy who finds a unicorn in his wallpaper and ‘The New Girl’, a short tale of a unicorn caretaker desperate to leave the confines of her small village. And of course, the sugary-sickness of the poem ‘The Dream-Child.’
Another saving grace is Alix Berenzy’s lovely black-and-white illustrations.
Read this book for your own enjoyment, but be aware that you are not reading about ‘real’ unicorns — only the idealized, modernized unicorns by authors who have forgotten what a unicorn really is.
The Unicorn Chronicles — (1994-2012) Ages 9-12. A Glory of Unicorns is a collection of stories. The Unicorn Treasury is a collection of stories and poems. Publisher: This is the magical story of Cara, a girl sent on a mission by her grandmother to the land of the unicorns. Only Cara can protect the unicorns and their world from invasion.
Have not read Turow's fiction but his book One-L, describing the entry level law school experience and featuring the prifessor…
Scott Turow's second book, "The Burden of Proof", is a semi-sequel to "Presumed Innocent". The psychological darkness of the situations…
I've been reading The Everything Learning Russian book to help with my novel set in Russia. The structure of the…
In the first part of the graphic novel series "Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise", we see that after…
That was my view as well, as you'll see in my soon-to-post review