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Unicorns: Stepping Stones    by Lucille Recht Penner & Mel Grant order for
by Lucille Recht Penner
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

In the first chapter, Lucille Recht Penner writes of 'The Unicorn Myth', beginning 'The sun goes down. It is dark in the forest. A deep pond glitters in the moonlight ... A graceful white shape glides silently out of the trees. It is a unicorn.' Now the other animals can approach the pond as the unicorn's magical horn makes the water safe to drink.

The word unicorn means one horn. An animal that may look like it has one horn is the African oryx, which gives that appearance when standing sideways. But when the oryx turns, it shows its two horns. The European unicorn was imagined as a majestic white horse, with a horn made of ivory. In China the unicorn is called the ki-lin, with 'scales like a dragon' and a silver horn. Among the many stories is one of Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi, who was given a scroll by a unicorn showing a map with strange marks drawn on it. 'The ki-lin had given him a written language. Now his people would be able to write ... and remember everything that happened to them.' Other countries had different names and stories about their unicorns' appearances, e.g. in Japan a unicorn was called a kirin and looked like a lion.

The author and illustrator of Unicorns give an informative and colorful presentation of a legendary creature, which has been represented in stories, paintings, and in songs set to music. For hundreds of years, there have been many tales of this wondrous horned animal. I believe in unicorns, do you?

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