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Friendship, Diversity, and Social Anxiety in “Lily the Unicorn”


Fats here.


Lily the Unicorn

Written and illustrated by Dallas Clayton
Published by HarperCollins (2014)
ISBN-10: 0062116681
ISBN-13: 978-0062116680

Two years ago, Myra wrote a review on Bob Shea’s Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great. A copy of the book found its way into my hands last month, along with Dallas Clayton’s Lily the Unicorn. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of unicorns. I do like how they are associated with cupcakes and rainbows.

When I was looking up product details on Lily the Unicorn, I realized that I had previously purchased a book by Dallas Clayton. (This was about four years ago.) It’s called An Awesome Book of Love, and I mailed it as a gift to Daniel when I lived in San Diego and he was in South Carolina.

Lily the Unicorn breaks the stereotype by featuring a pink unicorn that looks more like a hedgehog than a horse. She’s as cute (and hyper) as can be.

My name is Lily! I’m a unicorn. I like to make things.
I like making music.
I like making a mess.
I like making friends best of all.

I’m quite certain we’ve met a Lily at some point in our lives. Lily’s spirited personality is challenged when she meets a blue penguin named Roger.

His favorite place is inside.
His favorite color is gray.
His favorite destination is nowhere.
His favorite time is “not right now.”
His favorite animal is himself.
Roger doesn’t like magic.
Roger doesn’t like make-believe.
Roger doesn’t like new experiences.

Hyperjubilant Lily meets socially awkward introvert Roger – you can see where the story is going. The ending is where I think the book falls short. To me, there was a lack of buildup and the story ends abruptly. (It was hinted that it was merely the start of a great friendship. Readers are left to fill in what exciting adventures Lily and Roger are going to have.)


I would have liked for the book to explore Roger’s social anxiety more. (Maybe that’s what the Lily the Unicorn show on Amazon is about?) I recently watched the movie Trolls with a couple of my friends. Lily and Roger remind me of Poppy and Branch in the movie. Of course, the movie was longer, so it was able to get into more detail, and show Branch’s transformation.

On the upside, I think that it’s great that Lily the Unicorn touches on friendship. With everything that’s happening, it’s comforting to have somebody reach out to you in spite of your differences.

Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

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