So obviously we all want to be unicorns. Unicorns are special and magical and made of glitter and sparkles. I got this book for Little Squishie, who is a magical sparkle unicorn of a child. She is the most Herself person I know, and even though she is only 3 years old, I never want her to lose that sense of herself as special and magical. I’m not sure about this book though. The more we read it, the less I like the message.
The heroine of this story is a chubby little pony called Thelma, who wishes with all her heart to be a glamourous unicorn. Her friends tell her that she is perfect as she is, but Thelma is unsatisfied. She sticks a carrot to her forehead to pretend, and after a convenient pink glitter truck accident, she is mistaken for a Real Unicorn and becomes an international celebrity, complete with adoring fans and papparazzi. Eventually the attention is too much, and Thelma realises that her adoring fans are obsessed with her image but don’t really care about Her. She removes the fake horn and glitter and returns home to her ordinary life. It’s a pretty obvious analogy to our current celebrity obsessed culture, honestly.
I have mixed feelings about this message– on the one hand, you should be happy to be yourself. But on the other hand, am I comfortable with the message that you CAN’T be a magical sparkle unicorn? Thelma didn’t love the media glitz and attention of being a famous unicorn. But does that mean she can’t be a unicorn at all? Why can’t she play with her identity? Just be yourself is a powerful message, but if Thelma the Pony is really Thelma the Unicorn, then she should do everything to make that happen if she can.
I know I’m over-thinking what is really just a sweet book about a pony that briefly lives her dream of being a unicorn and learns to accept that she is a pony. But I’m reading these books to the people that I am building, so I want the building materials to be the best quality. It’s a good book with a message that I am mostly behind. Just be yourself! (…. but maybe your Self really IS a Unicorn.)