Uni the Unicorn in the Real World

Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager

Random House, 2021
Medium: Photoshop

I don’t remember whose idea it was, but I remember thinking “there really SHOULD be three.” A trilogy is such a classic grouping. Plus, we had left readers with a sort of cliffhanger at the end of the previous book: Uni and the little girl were sliding down the rainbow, on their way to the little girl’s home, where she couldn’t wait to share Uni’s magic with everyone. We already knew how it should begin: they arrive! 

It also seemed so fitting, so appropriate, that the very little girl that the little girl in the story was based on, Paris Rosenthal, should be authoring this third chapter. The symbolic passing of the torch from mother to daughter is beautiful. Magical, even. 

In the story, the little girl and Uni arrive in the little girl’s world (which we understand to be our world) but for some reason no one else can see Uni! It is not until they begin to believe that Uni might exist that they see Uni. After that the gates of belief are thrown wide open, and all the “imaginary” friends – the mermaids, the fairies, the dragons and the pegasuses – appear, and with them they bring joy! Wonder! Excitement! Dreams can come true!

This book was completed during Covid (paradoxically, a true nightmare), and released during Covid too, so I haven’t had the opportunity yet to read it out loud in person more than a couple times. We got to do a gatefold for the last page – that’s a page that folds out into an extra long illustration – and I remember drawing that last page and knowing that this was the appropriate grande finale of the Uni story. 

You see, for me, the thing that I had always wished and dreamed of – a life where I get to draw pictures and imaginary things for a living – actually HAD come true. It IS my dream come true, my real world, my unicorn.

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