Bruce Coville has received over a dozen Children's Choice Awards, and has written more than ninety popular books for young people, including MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN, INTO THE LAND OF THE UNICORNS, SONG OF THE WANDERER, and THE MONSTER'S RING. His most recent novel, DARK WHISPERS, is the third book in his beloved Unicorn Chronicles series. He lives in Syracuse, New York, with his wife, Katherine.
Gr 3-6-By Bruce Coville. Cara jumps off a church roof to escape a mysterious stranger and enters the Land of Luster.
Coville's (My Teacher Is an Alien) mild fantasy, the first in the projected Unicorn Chronicles, opens promisingly, with a suspenseful chase scene, but somewhat dissipates its force. A nameless hunter pursues Cara and her grandmother into an empty church, where the grandmother gives Cara her amulet-along with the bewildering instructions to jump from the church tower at the twelfth toll of the bell. The girl lands in Luster, the land of the unicorns, and tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the amulet even as she continues to elude the hunter. Aided by a young unicorn and an assortment of odd creatures, including Dimblethum (``He looked like a bear that had started to become a man but hadn't finished the process'') and Squijum (``a cross between a monkey and a squirrel''), Cara embarks on a number of dangerous adventures. The plot jumps from one episode to the next, and can be confusing. But drama builds with the revelation that the hunter is none other than Cara's father (who long ago abandoned her); no stock villain, he is given plausible motives for his inimical deeds. Cara's loyalties are severely tested, leaving plenty of room for a sequel. Fantasy fans might be content with the headlong pacing, but most will hope that future installments will include more fluid writing and less convoluted plot lines. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
"Coville weaves traditional unicorn myths into his light,
accessible fantasy and provides a neatly contrived ending that
hints at the next adventure. . . . Middle-grade unicorn lovers and
fantasy fans will eagerly await a sequel."
"A popular subject and author, plus intriguing characters, combine with a good chase plot to make a galloping good beginning to The Unicorn Chronicles. Coville's fans, unicorn lovers, and fantasy readers will all be pleased."
"The book should find a favored and well-deserved place on most shelves."
--School Library Jornal