Unicorns are legendary creatures, described since antiquity as beasts with a single, large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. They appear in fairy tales from around the world, but interestingly are not found in Greek mythology – because the ancient Greek writers of natural history were convinced of unicorns’ reality, believing that they lived in India, a “distant and fabulous realm.” And don’t forget their mythical beast cousins, dragons. These legends also cross cultures and time periods. Described as a combination of bird, cat and snake, the eastern myths attribute dragons with high intelligence but no wings. The west’s versions typically include wings and fire breathing. Sample some of our favorite fairy tales and myths in Picture Book, Beginning Reader, and Chapter Book format to determine which you prefer!
It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn by Jason Tharp – A “horse” hides his identity with hats since Hoofington residents have misconceptions about unicorns such as “They fart rainbows.” Mr. Sparklesteed’s courage prevails at a stage performance.
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great and Unicorn is Maybe not so Great After All by Bob Shea – In these fun stories, Unicorn can make rain cupcakes but making friends is not quite as easy.
How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace – Have you wondered how to catch a unicorn? Adam Wallace has rhyming tips for this project.
Itty-Bitty Kittycorn by Shannon Hale – This fun new title features a kitten who fancies herself a unicorn.
Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson – For “facts” about unicorns, consult’s this delightful resource. You can learn about the first unicorn to trot on Pluto, a unicorn who made it rain waffles for a week and yes, there were dino-corns!
Sparkle series by Amy Young – A mail-order unicorn stars in Amy Young’s stories about Sparkle, a poser goat. These are great for encouraging imaginations to decide which real animals could be stand-ins for unicorns.
Dragon fans will be enchanted by Kat Zhang’s Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon where a youngster strives to create her own special dragon for art class.
In Dragon Dancer by Joyce Chng, the sky dragon Shen Long emerges from sleep to participate in celebrations for Chinese New Year.
Uni series by Candice Ransom and Amy Krouse Rosenthal – Ransom’s and Rosenthal’s collaborations on adventures in the land of unicorns have sold more than half a million copies. Meet Uni!
Pete the Kitty and the Unicorn's Missing Colors by Kim Dean – Kim Dean’s popular Pete the Kitty assists Stevie the unicorn locate colors missing from her rainbow tail.
Unicorn and Yeti series by Heather Burnell – Discover a magical friendship in Heather Burnell’s series about Unicorn and Yeti.
There’s a fun, photographic story celebrating the long U vowel sound in Molly Coxe’s Blues for Unicorn. It even includes story starters at the end for parents and teachers to encourage imaginations.
Pinkalicious at the Fair by Victoria Kann – Lost your unicorn? Then commiserate with Pinkalicious who’s lost Goldie at the fair. Of course, if you prefer Dragons, try Pinkalicious: Dragon to the Rescue.
Join the adventures of Unicorns of the Secret Stables by Whitney Sanderson. In the first book, we wonder if Iris and Ruby will find Heartsong, their unicorn who went to the Fairy Forest to foal. Only 68 pages to complete each tale.
Dave the Unicorn tales by Pip Bird are light and highly illustrated. At Unicorn School where students are paired with their very own unicorn, human Mira discovers her assigned partner Dave prefers donuts to prancing, and his unkempt mane is described as “strawlike.”
In the science-based fiction Zoey and Sassafras tales by Asia Citro, Unicorns and Germs tells of an enormous unicorn born of an earthquake, who needs pain relief. Our heroine, with the help of her mom and a cat sidekick, come to the rescue.
Younger chapter book readers in search of dragons will appreciate Zetta Elliot’s Dragon Thief, which is told in two voices as a pair of siblings chronicle their efforts to return a baby dragon to its realm of magic.
More advanced unicorn fans should seek The Unicorn Quest series by Kamilla Benko, with each installment chronicling a new, magical adventure.
The land of Nocturnia, where unicorns are nightmares, will please Lemony Snicket fans. Laura Ella Anderson’s Amelia Fang books will take you there.
Lou Anders invites you join a science-minded unicorn on a journey to defend her magical home from a pumpkin-head and menacing fairy. If you’re ready, it’s time to Read Once Upon a Unicorn.
Ordinary life takes an extraordinary turn in Jacqueline Ogburn’s Dragon in the Barn when a farming community’s legendary white deer turns out to be…you guessed it!
Author extraordinaire Jane Yolen provides a Plague of Unicorns. Cranford Abbey school’s attempts to escape disrepair by selling golden apple cider is stymied by unicorns’ hearty appetite for the apples. Read the different ways used in attempts to cease the raids.
Spectacular dragon adventure awaits in Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Young Min follows direction from a talking goldfish to seek out better life for her village and along the way meets a dragon who can not fly.
Award-winning author Laurence Yep provides page-turners in his Dragon’s Guide to... series. Learn about the Care and Feeding of Humans, Making Your Human Smarter and Making Perfect Wishes.
The Twelve books by Cindy Lin offer adventure, magic and obstacles as a girl and her younger sister attempt to battle a dragon overlord who uses zodiac powers to maintain dominion.
Many will appreciate fairy tales and drawing guides about magical creatures. Have a look at Cari Meister’s Unicorns for striking illustrations and matter-of-fact text about legends.
Explore the mythology and legends in A Very Short, Entirely True History of Unicorns by Sarah Laskow. She shows how the creature has appeared world-wide in history.
Approachable facts come from Gail Gibbons’ Behold- the Unicorns! Were they really narwhals or rhinos? You decide based on her research. Of course, Gibbons couldn’t resist a companion volume, Behold-the Dragons!
Check out Virginia Loh-Hagan’s Nian, the Chinese New Year Dragon folktale. It’s spring, and that means Nian can escape mountain prison to terrorize the village below. Add to the mix that a young girl has been told she has 15 days to defeat the beast or else the dragon will be free forever-gasp!
When it’s time to illustrate your own story, check out You Can Draw Dragons, Unicorns and Other Mythical Creatures by Mattia Cerato or Rosa Curto’s Fun and Easy Drawing Fantasy Characters. Step-by-step directions can guide many ages.
And of course, if you need more suggestions, about whatever magical creatures you prefer, remember your HCPL librarians are happy to help you find your perfect book. You can even request recommendations online through My Next Read!