Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Published: September 19, 2023 by Viking Children’s
Summary: Two pen pals receive the shock of a lifetime in this giggle-inducing ode to friendship, art, and keeping an open mind!
Connie’s art class is partnering with Nic’s as pen pals, and the two of them love trading their artistic creations back and forth. They have slightly different approaches to art, but sharing their perspectives is what makes being pen pals so fun. Both of them eagerly await the end of year art festival where the classes will finally meet.
But they are in for quite a shock…
Connie doesn’t know Nic is a unicorn. And Nic has no clue that Connie is a human.
It turns out, though, that even this surprise can’t get in the way of true friendship. Through their letters, they see that their differences are their strengths—and that they have a lot to learn from each other.
With Josh Funk’s signature laugh-out-loud humor and Charles Santoso’s explosively fun illustrations, Dear Unicorn is a celebration of new friends, art, and stepping outside your comfort zone.
Review: This book made me feel so much joy. It’s epistolary, and the letters from the child to the unicorn are full of all of the joys and concerns of many children. Kids will see themselves in both characters, and they’ll love the illustrations that the child and unicorn send back and forth to each other. The ending is what truly makes this book magical. The child and unicorn meet and discover how very different they each are, and they see strength in each other. I will definitely be getting a copy of this for my son, who loves unicorns, writing letters, and pink. This book is a great gift!
Tools for Navigation: This is the perfect book to start out a penpal unit. Teachers might ask students to make illustrations with their letters, too! If the penpals are meeting (e.g. a school exchange), this book also offers fodder for conversations about what to expect upon meeting their penpals.
- What do Nic and Connie seem to expect when they meet each other? What do their reactions teach you?
- How do the illustrations add to the pen pal letters? What did they do for you as a reader?
- How did the voice change for each character’s letter? How could you tell whose was whose?
- What does the addition of artwork from each character add to the story? Show you about their personality?
- What lessons does this book teach you?
Read This If You Love: Dear Dragon by Josh Funk; epistolary stories; pen pal writing; unicorns; joyful stories; stories about friendship
**Thank you to Jaleesa from Penguin Random House for recommending this book!**