One of this book’s biggest strengths is the relationship between the father and daughter. While the father shows patience and tenderness toward his child, he clearly has other things on his mind and says more than once that he needs to hurry home for an important work call. This will be relatable for kids and parents, as most families have likely experienced similar moments where the adult must get things done before they can play. Ultimately, the father in this story embraces his imaginary role as the “mighty knight,” which will be rewarding for kids and remind grownups that it’s okay sometimes to put fun first.
Margaret Breen’s warm, homey illustrations burst with both everyday life and, later, the fantastical, transporting readers into the story and capturing something elusive: the imagination unleashed on regular life. Little details like the father’s rumpled shirt, the puddles on the sidewalk, and the changing leaves on the trees ground the story in reality, while others show the girl’s vibrant imagination of herself as a valiant unicorn with a rainbow mane and her father as a knight in glistening armor. In the end, this story will inspire families to seek out their own unordinary adventures.
Takeaway: Vaknin’s imaginative picture book finds a girl and her father making everyday magic.
Comparable Titles: Matt Forrest Esenwine’s Flashlight Night, Samatha Berger’s What If.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
A heartwarming tale of the playful, imaginative relationship between a daddy and his young daughter.
On a walk home from school, a couple of detours see them off course and running late, but to the innocent little girl it's all an adventure. Inspired by what she finds in a classical toy shop and tugging along her reluctant but accommodating father (he's late for work), in her imagination she becomes a unicorn and he is a valiant knight. Their efforts to help a lost puppy leave them stranded in a rainstorm, and they work together to find a way out, helping others along the way.
The magical and inventive story is beautifully illustrated and deeply colorful, representing well the emotion and characters on display. The art and narrative will engage young, imaginative readers and their parents alike. Sure to become a bedtime classic!
Do you believe in unicorns and dragons and magical creatures? What would life be like if we didn’t believe? That’s what imagination is for – to create these mythical creatures in our minds and enjoy extraordinary adventures. That’s what happened to Abigail and her dad in Unicorn for a Day by Golan Vaknin. A walk home from school took them to a toy store where Abigail finds a magic umbrella that she must have. The umbrella appears to be taking them on a grand adventure when a small white dog rushes past and leads them into the magical forest. At least, it appears magical. Abigail believes she is a unicorn and her dad is her knight and the little white dog is a baby dragon that has injured itself. Dad, the knight, heals the dog’s injured paw and helps Abigail and the dog finish their adventure, find the dog’s owner, and make their way home. But the adventure isn’t over yet. The storm has ended and what do you think etched a ribbon of multiple colors across the sky? Isn’t imagination wonderful?
Golan Vaknin’s picture book Unicorn for a Day is a fun-tastic adventure full of magic and plenty of imagination. Told in simple language with lots of dialogue, this story will appeal to early readers as they can read along easily. Margaret Breen’s bright, bold, colorful illustrations add to the story and help move the plot forward. Each picture has so much detail that young readers will want to spend time studying everything they see. The story is full of fantasy mixed with reality and highlights the fond relationship between a little girl and her father. It promotes the importance of spending time with children and nurturing the love of reading with regular storytime together and enjoying the power of imagination.
"A delightful picture book about turning the ordinary into a magical adventure…It features colorful illustrations, a warm and whimsical writing style, and brief text that will engage and not overtax young attention spans" (Reedsy).