Cover illustration by Andrew Farley. Inside illustrations by Renée Kurilla.
Published by Scholastic, 2016.
After the success of her Owls of Blossom Wood series, Catherine Coe returns with a new series – Unicorns of Blossom Wood – that uses the same setting. There are four titles in the series and I’m reviewing the first two books, Believe in Magic and Festival Time.
The books follow three cousins – Cora, Isabelle and Lei. Despite living on opposite sides of the world to each other, the cousins and their families meet up once a year for a holiday together. It’s on this holiday that they have their magical adventure. One day, while out exploring the campsite where they’re staying, they find a cave. Inside the cave they see three sets of hoof prints. They place their own feet inside the prints and this triggers the magic that not only transforms the girls into unicorns but also transports them to the magical Blossom Wood.
In the first book, Believe in Magic, the girls (as unicorns) explore Blossom Wood in spring time. They are amazed by their beautiful, enchanted surroundings and delight in being unicorns. However, they are disappointed to discover that all the animals living in Blossom Wood are afraid of them and run away when they approach. It’s only when the unicorns meet and help Bobby the badger that the other animals learn not to be afraid of them.
In the second book, Festival Time, they return to Blossom Wood. Even though it’s only the next day for the girls, time passes differently in Blossom Wood and they find that it’s no longer spring but the middle of winter and everywhere is covered in snow. Preparations are well under way for the special mid-winter festival and the unicorns are invited to attend. The celebrations have barely started when Billy the bunny rabbit arrives in a panic. His sister Lizzie is lost in Echo Mountains. The three unicorns set off to rescue her. With the help of their magical powers, it’s not long before they’ve found Lizzie but now the unicorns can’t remember the way out of the mountain caves!
The books have lots to recommend them. There are strong themes of female friendship, kindness and community. I also really liked how Lei is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about science; I think it’s important to portray girls in fiction in this way. There’s plenty of appeal for the target audience: talking woodland animals, relatable characters, magical powers, adventure, sparkles and fabulous flowing manes in gorgeous colours.
There’s loads of brilliant additional content at the end of each book too: character fact files on the three girls, quizzes, puzzles and interesting facts linked to aspects of the story.
There’s also an excellent website to accompany the series. It has a game, video interviews with the author, puzzles and craft activities.
Suitable for children aged 6+
You can read my review of the next two books in the series here.
Thank you to Scholastic for sending me these books to review. I reviewed these books as part of Scholastic’s Unicorn Day.