cover image The Midnight Unicorn

The Midnight Unicorn

Neil Reed. Sterling, $14.95 (36pp) ISBN 978-1-4027-3218-8

In British author-artist Reed's unabashedly romantic fantasy aimed at girls, young Millie imagines that a unicorn statue in the park comes to life and takes her on a round-the-world journey. With her dog Casper at her side (he, too, can fly), Millie and her trusty, muscular steed outpace storm clouds, skim ""glistening moonlit mountains,"" sail over the desert and plunge into the ocean. ""Waves rolled and crashed along the beach, and when Millie looked closely she could see that there were other unicorns prancing in the foam. The unicorn spiraled down, down, down, right into the breakers. Millie laughed as they bucked through the salty spray, racing the others,"" goes a typical passage. As an illustrator, Reed makes the most of his book's oversize format. He invites readers to luxuriate in both the sweep and details of his paintings, and seems to have left no dreamy scenario untapped (in one of the final scenes, Millie pets a group of unicorns in a lush forest while butterflies flutter in a field a flowers). Spot varnishing-on Millie's blond hair, the unicorn's mane, the creamy surf and even Casper's nose-adds gleaming punctuation to the spreads and heightens the magic for young die-hard unicorn buffs. Ages 4-7.