From hair color and clothes to drinks and food, unicorn-themed everything has been making a splash in pop culture in the past few years. For kids, unicorns are fun, lovely, happy mythical creatures, and for adults, they’re symbols of our own childhood, which likely involved a Lisa Frank unicorn binder and notebook. To indulge your kid’s obsession with unicorns, four of the books below have them as main characters in a variety of scenarios. And to introduce your kid to the unicorn’s real-life, marine animal counterpart, the other four on this list are about narwhals—creatures that also have a tusk on their head. Both types of books send sweet messages to your kids, including ones about friendship, inclusion or travel.
Not Quite Narwhal, by Jessie Sima
A delightful story about a unicorn named Kelp, who is born into a family of narwhals. Kelp has always known he wasn’t like the other narwhals, but when he meets “land narwhals” he doesn’t feel totally at home either. A reassuring picture book about love, family and acceptance. Ages 4-8 ($12).
Thelma the Unicorn, by Aaron Blabey
Thelma the unicorn is already glamorous, but what she really wants is to become internationally famous. In a moment of sparkle-covered fate, Thelma achieves her goal and rises to stardom, but fame comes with a price, and Thelma realizes that friendship is more important than fame. Ages 3-5 ($10)
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea (A Narwhal and Jelly Book), by Ben Clanton
The first book in a delightful graphic novel chapter book series about two friends who share adventures, friendship and waffles. A great choice for reluctant readers, with two more books in the series to keep them going. Ages 6-9 ($8).
I’m a Unicorn (Little Golden Book), by Mallory Loehr and Joey Chou
I Am a Unicorn is a contemporary addition to the classic Little Golden Books, and a perfect fit for the series. Unicorns enjoy the company of friends and family, as well as solitude; they are kind, gentle, magical, and best of all, they believe in the same children who believe in them. This sweet little volume is a colorful introduction to all things unicorn. Ages 2-5 ($4).
Someday, Narwhal, by Lisa Mantchev and Hyewon Yum
A narwhal living in a fishbowl longs to see the world beyond the same umbrella stand, front door, and potted plant that she sees every day. With the help of a bat, a penguin, a giraffe, and a lot of courage, this little narwhal’s dreams come true, for an experience that will last a lifetime. A wonderful way to show kids how they can explore their world without going far from home. Ages 4-8 ($10).
Do You Believe in Unicorns? by Bethanie Murguia
Is it a horse wearing a hat or could it be a unicorn? What do you think? Perception is the name of the game in this picture book, and whether or not you believe there’s magic to be found in the everyday. A funny and thoughtful story with illustrations that keep readers guessing all the way through. Ages 3-7 ($15).
Wendell the Narwhal, by Emily Dove
Wendell wants to be part of the symphony taking place underwater, but his horn can’t seem to hold a tune. The octopus adds his sound, the jellyfish and whale add theirs too, and the ocean gets a little chaotic until Wendell taps his horn for quiet. Ta-da! With a little teamwork, it’s easy to see right where Wendell fits in. A nice way to illustrate that everyone has a special talent to contribute. Ages 4-8 ($14).
The Magical Unicorn Society Official Handbook, by Selwyn E. Phipps
A beautifully illustrated book about all the varieties of unicorns, the mythology surrounding them, and the unicorn society, dedicated to these magical creatures. A warm embrace for older unicorn lovers and the author, who says he discovered unicorns as a boy but is now president of the society, reassures the reader that unicorns are for everyone … Ages 8-12 ($13). (On Sale September 18, 2018.)