There's No Such Thing as Unicorns by Lucy Rowland and Katy Halford
We are HUGE fans of Rapunzel to the Rescue by Lucy Rowland and Katy Halford and I was so excited to discover they had collaborated again on There's No Such Thing as Unicorns. My local bookshop, Just Books in Mullingar, delivered it on Friday and it was the perfect start to the weekend. The attractive images and the interactive aspect appealed enormously to both the three-year-old and the five-year-old, who were hooked after seeing its appropriately sparkly cover alone.
This fabulous story takes us on a lively, rhyming journey with a little girl who is determined to prove that unicorns exist. We visit a farm and a zoo, explore woodlands and lakes, play on a beach and in a park, skip through a meadow and hunt at school. Although observant readers may spy a unicorn hidden in each scene, we're not sure if the girl will manage to spot one too.
There's No Such Thing as Unicorns is a bright and cheerful explosion of colour, with multiple rainbows and magic to be found on every page. The illustrations are bursting with activity, and are so much fun to examine as we search for unicorns ourselves. The text allows for natural pauses and plenty of time to pore over each page before turning to the next one.
There is lots to discuss in each scene. Among the sights are dozing school children, cave paintings, sliding penguins, storytelling grandparents, rattle-waving babies and sandwich-eating mothers. We see lots of wildlife including herons, hedgehogs, ducklings, rabbits, snails, butterflies, bees, the cutest crabs, and a variety of birds. The expressions on the animals' faces are often hilarious and I love the signposts at the zoo revealing fascinating facts.
The illustrations are full of the wonder of every day life and no creature is ever idle. Every living thing on every single page appears to be in motion, giving the illustrations a wonderful, dynamic quality. I love the beams of moonlight at the start of the book and the shafts of sunlight that filter through the trees in the forest scene.
It's fantastic to see so many diverse characters and I love that the farmer is female. Although the little girl may be disappointed by the apparent lack of unicorns, she looks like she is thoroughly enjoying each part of her expedition. Her brother is with her every step of the way and they appear to have a great relationship.
Lucy Rowland is a speech and language therapist with years of experience of working with children, which shows in her work. Lucy has written lots of fantastic stories that connect with young people. We also have Wanda's Words got Stuck, Sammy Claws and Little Red Reading Hood and love them. The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Book was published this month too (review coming soon!).
Katy Halford is a former art teacher who decided to become a full-time illustrator in 2017. Since then, she has worked on a variety of children's titles from non-fiction to chapter and picture books. Katy's advice to up-and-coming artists is to: "Be yourself with a vengeance!" This is the third story Katy has illustrated featuring unicorns (see the others here) - I wonder is she as fond of them as the girl in this story?
The cultural fascination with unicorns can be traced back as far as Ancient Greece! Even if your children aren't unicorn-crazy, this is a gorgeous book with a lovely message. There's No Such Thing as Unicorns celebrates the natural beauty that surrounds us and shows how we can all find magic if we look closely enough... and believe.
Title: There's No Such Thing as Unicorns
Author: Lucy Rowland
Illustrator: Katy Halford
Publication Date: 7th January 2021