by Sam Juliano
“….this is one of the rare books where I cannot for the life of me figure out how anything in the title could be better. it’s about a friggin unicorn who eats glitter and rainbows and I think it’s jim dandy. Best dang thing I’ve encountered in a long time..”
-Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal
After a three-month in-class inundation of Caldecott-friendly picture books in three first grade classes held at the Number Three School Annex in Fairview, New Jersey, a comprehensive polling was held on Thursday, January 23rd. Nearly fifty books were displayed on a long table, so that the young voters could see the covers that would remind them of the original contact made with these books during the original reading sessions. The kids were then given half sheets of yellow paper to write down the names of the three books they liked best in order of preference. When the votes were tabulated Bob Shea’s wildly popular Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great finished a very close second to Mo Willems’ That is Not A Good Idea. I will be discussing the Willems book in a second three-in-one post on Sunday. While there were few readings of picture books this year that matched the one of Shea’s for sheer delirious fun and laughter, (I read the book once myself to the kids and then had Shea himself read it on a popular audio that came along with the library loan. I have since purchased my own copy of Unicorn) I was still unsure if the classes would remember a book I first read to them in early September. Certainly it is a testament to Unicorn’s staying power and wide appeal that it finished ahead of many Caldecott contenders that were read over the following three months. What’s more the book was the most difficult for me to obtain in the Bergen County library cooperative network. I waited weeks, as every last copy was out on loan. I finally secured it, and was so impressed that I purchased my own copy.
The premise and psychological hang up in the book is explained on the front end page dust jacket flap:
Hi, I’m Goat.