The Teeny-Weeny Unicorn

by Shawn Harris (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Meet this pint-sized unicorn in this funny, modern fairy tale about perception and self-confidence from a Caldecott-Honor winning creator.

Once upon a time, in a land where horses were mythical beasts, there lived a unicorn--a Teeny-Weeny Unicorn. He lived with his family in a palace--one that was extra-large for him, full of extra-large rugs and extra-large food. And when his brother and sister played chess, they used him in place of a pawn.

When it's just too much to take, Teeny-Weeny Unicorn runs away--and has a chance encounter with a salty gnome. It's then that he suddenly starts to wonder... IS he teeny weeny? Or is he just the right size?

Every kid will relate to Teeny-Weeny Unicorn, as he figures out how to live in a world not made for his stature. With wit and charm, as well as delightful illustrations, Shawn Harris creates a modern classic made for sharing--be it at bedtime or on a story time rug.

Select format:

Kirkus Reviews

At last! A unicorn book as charming as the species it highlights.

Horn Book Magazine

This original take on unicorn life and troubles encourages a wry grin on every page.


A delightful, buoying romp.

Publishers Weekly

The titular hero of this fanciful story by Harris (Have You Ever Seen a Flower?) lives in a castle with his siblings, Fancy Annie and Prince Butterscotch, and parents. Fresh chalk-pastel drawings and a confident narrative lay out the tiny pink being's miseries in a time when "it was common to see a unicorn." It's bad enough that everything in the castle is too big for him, but the unicorn's larger siblings also use him as a chess piece and exclude him from swimming in the moat. "A gumball would make a bigger splash than you. You're so teeny-weeny, you'd get lost in the lawn," Fancy Annie taunts. Then the small unicorn actually does get lost in the lawn, where he meets a diminutive, extremely assertive pink gnome who accuses him of having damaged her sports car, and demands repayment instead of apology ("Sorry doesn't feed the bullfrog," she says). The unicorn feels he is much too small to have made such an impact--or is he? Sly wit, distinctive characterizations, and a free hand with fairy tale elements fuel this unbridled exploration of relative influence and size. Ages 3-7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"The playful, dry tone and folkloric lesson could lend well to a felt-board performance." —The Bulletin

Shawn Harris
Shawn Harris is an award-winning creator of books for kids. His authorial debut, Have You Ever Seen A Flower, was called a "stunning tour de force..." by The New York Times, and was the recipient of a Caldecott Honor. The National Museum of Wildlife Art awarded Shawn's cut-paper art in A Polar Bear in the Snow (by Mac Barnett) the Bull-Bransom Award for excellence in the field of children's book illustration with a focus on nature and wildlife. Harris has illustrated a number of other books, including Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, and Everyone's Awake by Colin Meloy. Shawn lives in Northern California, where he also likes to write songs, surf, and play racquetball.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
February 06, 2024
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002270 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dragons, Unicorns & Mythical
Library of Congress categories
Identity (Psychology)
Picture books
Size perception

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!