A Plague Of Unicorns

Friday, February 13, 2015
To make matters worse, no one had the time or the energy or the will to answer his questions, because everyone – from the abbot down to the young oblate – was concerned about the golden apples. The golden apples and the unicorns. So James was miserable. And cold. And lonely. He was homesick. And heartsick. And hungry.

Book:A Plague of Unicorns by Jane Yolen, Zonderkidz, 2014

Genre: Adventure
Target Audience: Boys 11-14
Subjects: Family Relationships, Legends, Prayer, Growing up/coming of age
Summary: Only one person in his whole entire life has appreciated James’ curiosity. His questions send most people running for cover. In fact, his dad even left the home altogether, fleeing to the crusades in the Holy Land to get away from the questions. At least that’s how it seems to James. And his uncle? Well, he’s gotten so tired of the questions, he’s found a way to get rid of James! He is sending him off to the Cranford Abbey to study – a tradition in the family, but something that shouldn’t happen for at least two more years when James is at least ten! Once James realizes that the Abbey might be a place to get questions answered he sees it as a great adventure, but when he arrives, no one in the Abbey has time to pay attention to him. The entire focus of the Abbey is on trying to get rid of the unicorns that eat the apples needed to make money to pay the Abbey’s bills! They are willing to try about anything and put nearly any amount of money into trying to get rid of these pesky beasts! But there’s one thing they haven’t tried, one thing that only occurs to a young boy with lots of questions.
Notes: This novel rotates between the adventurous action scenes and the story of James and his questions. Parts of it are very event driven, parts of it are very character driven. The action of course is trying to get rid of the unicorns. The character driven part is showing James growing up and learning how to use his curiosity for wisdom’s sake. The spiritual element is found in James and others praying. There isn’t a big focus on it, but it’s mentioned a few times. Those at the Abbey live a religious life, making reference to God or the Scriptures or prayer. It’s mostly a picture of a religious culture, not really a story driven by a message.  
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Job 39:10 (KJV) - Whether thou shalt bind the unicorn with thy chain, for to ear thy land, either shall he break the clots of the valleys after thee?

Thank you to the publisher for proving me with a free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.


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