cover image Donut: The Unicorn Who Wants to Fly

Donut: The Unicorn Who Wants to Fly

Laura Gehl, illus. by Andrea Zuill. Random House Studio, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-37625-6

Donut wants to fly, but actually doing so is another matter entirely: despite valiant efforts and a supportive forest friend group, the unicorn remains stubbornly earthbound. Gehl (The Hiking Viking) chronicles these attempts through brief rhyming snippets, as in a sequence in which Donut tries a set of wings that the animal friends fashion from leaves, twigs, and vines: “Donut sails!/ Donut flails!” leads, a page turn later, to “Donut wails!” Finally, the group hits on a winning idea: building a nestlike basket in which the birds can carry the unicorn into the sky (amid what looks like a hot air balloon festival). Given the minimal text, art by Zuill (Regina Is NOT a Little Dinosaur) does a lot of heavy lifting, literally and figuratively, and it excels on both counts: her elegant ink line, enhanced with warm digital color, articulates moments of slapstick, ingenuity, despair, and triumph. Donut is awkward, funny, and sweet, with a big pink nose and a long fringe, and the unicorn’s lessons of persistence, kindness, and collaboration land with the lightness of a zephyr. Ages 4–8. Agent (for Gehl and Zuill): Erzsi Deak, Hen&ink. (Apr.)