When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her twenty-five cents and waits four to six long weeks for her very own unicorn to arrive. She imagines the flowers that she'll braid into his beautiful pink mane, and she even picks the perfect name for him: Sparkle. But when Sparkle arrives, his ears are too long, his horn is too short, he smells funny--and oh, he has fleas. Lucy isn't pleased, but in the end she warms up to Sparkle and realizes that even though he wasn't exactly the unicorn she wanted, he might be just the one she needs.
After sending away for a mail-order unicorn (only 25 cents!), Young's heroine, Lucy, fantasizes about naming him Sparkle, garlanding him with flowers, and riding over rainbows on his back. The specimen that shows up, however, looks a lot like a goat. He also smells like a goat, eats like a goat, and is stubborn like a goat. Come to think of it, he's as stubborn as Lucy, with her relentless insistence that Sparkle is really a unicorn and therefore should wear a flower necklace and tutu (both of which prove edible). Clearly, Sparkle will never be the flashy showpiece Lucy dreamed of but maybe Lucy isn't the dainty princess type, either. "She had to admit: sometimes he made her smile and sometimes he made her laugh," writes Young (Don't Eat the Baby!), whose storytelling and watercolor cartooning are spot-on in their comic timing. Her message to readers is clear: self-awareness and finding a soul mate don't always come easily. Sometimes it takes a kick in the pants. By a goat. Ages 2 6.