OK, this wasn't on the list, but after an exciting, impromptu Twitter exchange with the author of my daughters' favorite series of books, I couldn't resist. I headed straight to Amazon and blurted out (through my fingertips, of course) the following review... Enjoy.
It's impossible to review just one book in Kathleen Duey's The Unicorn's Secret,
as each one builds on the previous installment. Each book is magical in its own
right, but only together do they truly fly.
I have two daughters, ages 5
and 6. Both are emerging readers who alternate between loving and hating
reading. They love being read to, but they resist the effort they have to put
into reading themselves. Knowing how much they love unicorns, I searched
specifically for a book with "Unicorn" in the title. When we happened upon this
series, I knew I hit on something special.
From the first word, all three
of us were enraptured by the little girl, Heart, who has led less than an ideal
life. Found by a hard, sometimes cruel, man when she was a baby, Heart ached to
know who she really was and why she was left behind by her family. Her journey
begins when she finds a "horse" with a curious scar on her forehead. With her
new friend, threads from her baby blanket and very little else, Heart begins an
adventure that spans the 8 books of this series.
Every chapter end had my
daughters begging for more (just one more chapter, Mommy!). Don't tell them, but
I sometimes stole a peek at the next chapter after bedtime! Every finished book
had them demanding the next and when we finally finished the series they cried
out for another! The ending is beautifully satisfying (I admit, I teared up!),
one that only my exceptionally imaginative 6-year-old guessed (with a "What
I highly recommend The Unicorn's Secret to any parent and every child
anywhere from age 5 (for a child with a long attention span) to at least 12.
There were a few vocabulary words here and there that my 5-year-old didn't quite
grasp, but overall it was easy to read and understand. When they couldn't wait
for me to read it to them, they would try to read it themselves! At last - they
wanted to read! At a 1st grade reading level it got frustrating for them... like
Heart as she learned to read... but I was more than happy to cuddle up with them
and share this beautiful series together. It was truly magical.