- Grumpycorn by Sarah McIntyre
McIntyre, Sarah Grumpycorn; written and illus. by Sarah McIntyre. Scholastic, 2020 [32p] Paper ed. ISBN 9781338617993 $6.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad 4-7 yrs
Unicorn sets out to write the most fabulous story in the world but immediately hits writer's block, and even his special fluffy pen, his special moonberry tea, and his [End Page 485] special notebook bring no inspiration. Narwhal stops by for a visit, but Unicorn sends him away, claiming he's busy writing a story and that narwhals are too boring to be in it. Word of Unicorn's literary endeavors spreads through the sea, but he refuses to let any of his marine pals star in his masterpiece. Finally, in frustration, Unicorn tosses his notebook out the window and into the ocean, whereupon his friends find it and write the most fabulous story ever about Unicorn, which they happily share with him when he shows up with earnest apologies and fabulous pizza. The story haphazardly shifts focus between the various creatures, and the cluttered illustrations and riotous palette only highlight the disjointed feel. Still, there's goofy appeal in the wide-eyed, cartoony characters and some solid visual humor in the undersea background, with energetic seahorses and suspicious crabs tracking the story's happenings. The appreciation of friendship is the main message here, but aspiring authors might also find value in the tip to use what you've got around you to jumpstart your masterpiece.