When I was growing up, I remember having a fairy tale book and reading Twelve Dancing Princesses. To be honest, I loved the story, but the fact that the sisters were locked up at night and not allowed to go out made ‘lil me mad. When I received a copy of Twelve Dancing Unicorns, the same love and madness washed over me.
In this gorgeously illustrated take on “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, author Alissa Heyman had my kids and I in awe. Her words, along with Justin Gerard’s illustrations, tell the story in the light of the princesses being unicorns and the soldier as a brave little girl who sneaks to the magical gardens the unicorns inhabit at night. In the end, the unicorns are freed from the kings chains and “watchful” guards thanks to the little girl’s bravery and problem solving.
Twelve Dancing Unicorns is one of the few “long” picture books my children have sat through and truly listened to. And at the end? They both understood the moral – have a good heart and don’t do things selfishly (as the king did). At five and three, they got that. It made them sad that the unicorns were chained up, but I watched their eyes light up as the ‘lil girl accompanied the unicorns to a land where jeweled fruits (their favorite, the golden apple) and fairies and lush gardens abound, and knew they were getting the meaning of letting others live true happiness.
You can find this gorgeous book (put it on your holiday shopping list!) at sterlingpublishing.com for $14.95.
I’ve posted this review as part of a month-long blog tour about the book. Follow the Twelve Dancing Unicorns blog tour tomorrow on Jumpin Beans: http://jumpin-beans.blogspot.
This story came at a great time for our family. Last week, we lost my grandma after a few years of suffering from various ailments. She was ready to let it go and be in Heaven, but was holding on for all of us. Once we finally told her it was okay, that we’d see her again, you could tell she felt released, just like the unicorns and princesses. What a beautiful coincidence.