Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review-A Plague of Unicorns By Jane Yolen

A Plague of Unicorns
By:  Jane Yolen

It was never a fair fight

“Young James, the duke’s son, asks too many questions.  At least that’s what everyone at Callendar Castle thinks after all but the last of his tutors quits and his uncle ships him off to be educated at Cranford Abby.  Unfortunately, the once-beautiful abbey has problems of its own, including cracked walls, a leaking roof, and shattered stained glass windows.  Not to mention the pesky herd of unicorns that continues to enter the abbey’s orchards and claim them as their own.
The only hope to save the abbey it seems, is money raised by Abbot Aelian’s golden apple cider, made from a recipe passed down in his family for generations.  But that means getting rid of the orchard’s unwelcome visitors.  And, as everyone knows, unicorns have very sharp horns.  Monks do not.
James has an idea that could help defeat those hungry beasts, but first must find someone to listen to him.  For once, he might be the only one asking the right questions.  And the only one who knows the perfect hero for the job.“

“A Plague of Unicorns” is a fairy tale based in medieval times.  The length of the book and its chapters is not long, which is good, because in my opinion the young reader would become discouraged.  The reason for that statement is…there is no glossary for the unusual words, such as:  scriptorium, oblate, novitiates, flagon, dukedom, clootie and chimera, just to name a few.  I gave the book to my granddaughter and after several times of her asking me the definitions and me telling her to look them up, I could see she was becoming discouraged, so I went through the book and listed all the unusual words with their definitions and that helped immensely. 

The first two-thirds of the book is more about the history with the real adventure starting somewhere around the last third.

Other than that what is not to love about medieval times, castles, princes, princesses, dragons, unicorns, knights, fair maidens and adventure?  I think this is cute fairytale and if you take time to list the definitions of unusual words your child will love it. 


This book is about a young boy names James who asks way too many questions. His uncle sends him to the Cranford Abbey, hoping they can teach him to be quiet since they don’t talk much there.  They do a lot of studying at the Abbey.  They learn really hard things like Latin, Hebrew and Greek and they learn to do fancy writing.  I also learned that Unicorns can be mean.  They really needed the apples to make cider to sell so they could save the Abbey and the Unicorns kept eating them.  Sandy, a friend of James comes to the Abbey to see if they can keep the Unicorns from eating the apples. 

This book was great because I really LOVE fairy tales and especially if the fairytale has unicorns and knights in it.  Some of words were really hard like scriptorium and chimera so I had to look up a lot until my grandma helped me to write down the hard words and what they mean.  Once we did that it made the reading really easy and I love, love, loved the book.    It was AWESOME!  I hope the author will write more.   

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, Z Blog Squad for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

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