Once Upon a Unicorn

by Lou Anders (Author)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

A science-minded unicorn and a (literal) fiery horse team up in this fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Fablehaven and the Wizards of Once series. Have you ever heard of a unicorn who is more interested in science experiments than magic? Or a flaming horse who's a walking fire hazard? When a pumpkin-headed menace called Jack o' the Hunt and monsters untold threaten their home, this unlikely pair must team up to save all of the Whisperwood--and themselves!

Award-winner Lou Anders delivers a fantasy adventure about friendship, fearlessness, and finding your true herd.

Kirkus Reviews

Anders tiptoes into Terry Pratchett country with this funny and fresh fantasy steeped in Celtic myth. . . . A distinctive unicorn tale for those seeking a funny-bone tickle.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-7—Midnight, a night mare from the Whisperwood, had a plan and it did not involve a unicorn—until she witnessed one being drowned by a group of kelpies in the River Restless. Midnight was going to rescue the unicorn, prove that night mares are better than unicorns, and then return to her original mission. Instead, Midnight now finds herself with Curious, a surprisingly science-minded unicorn, on the other side of the river. When Midnight and Curious discover that they are after the same wispy wood wink, competition and old prejudices surface. However, they are forced to put their differences aside when Jack o' the Hunt, the "worst Wicked Fairy on the Glistening Isles," reveals his pumpkin face and comes after the duo. They will need to cooperate in order to survive, but will they ever get along? This magical tale is told by a wry, omniscient narrator and explores what it truly means to be a friend regardless of superficial differences. VERDICT A good choice for fantasy adventure fans and reluctant middle grade readers alike; purchase where lighthearted fantasies are popular.—Jessica Caron, Bancroft Sch., MA

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Lou Anders
Lou Anders drew on his adventures traveling to Greece in his twenties to write Skyborn, combining these experiences with his love of adventure fiction and games (both tabletop and role playing). While he has yet to ride a hippalektryon, creating his own board games for Frostborn, Nightborn, and now Skyborn is one of his favorite indulgences. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction, and was named a Thurber House Writer-in-Residence. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. He resides with his family in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, on Tumblr, and on Twitter at @Louanders and @ThronesandBones.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
August 20, 2020

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