In A Plague of Unicorns, unicorns are invading Cranford Abbey to eat their golden apples. Although many of the monks before him have ignored the unicorns and just allowed them to run rampant through the orchard, the new abbot has a plan. He wants to harvest the golden apples that the unicorns are eating in order to make a delectable apple cider he can sell to provide money for needed repairs to the abbey. However, all his plans go awry, and the unicorns continue to roam freely through the abbey’s orchard. Will the abbot ever rid himself of these unicorns? How?
Enter a boy named James. A boy who asks too many questions. A boy that most of his family and the servants of his household avoid conversation with because of his insatiable zest for learning and his curiosity. He is sent to the abbey for the education necessary for his future as Duke, and he has a plan. Will it work or will the abbey be plagued by unicorns forever?
This is a really sweet and gentle fantasy novel written for the 8-12 year old set. The chapters are short and easy to get through. The action is interesting, but never too scary, and it isn’t infused with the over the top magical elements. We used it as a read aloud with my 9 & 8 year olds, and they really enjoyed the story. They’ve always been fans of fairy tales, so a story about unicorns was really something that fit their interests.
As a parent reading this, I felt a sting of conviction that I really must mention. James, the boy who asks too many questions, could easily be my nine year old who has a passionate curiosity for many things, some of which I am not interested in. Sometimes, I’m guilty of responding with impatience or irritation towards my beautiful and curious boy with his constant talk and questions. I found myself feeling pained as Yolen described the way that James felt on the inside that no one liked him, and how he even worried that his father had went off on crusade to avoid him and his questioning nature. That was so sad for me because I never want to give that impression of too busy or not interested in my children’s questions, even on the days that they feel constant. Proof God’s still working on me even through children’s literature!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Look Blogger program.