Reading Level: Children’s
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Rating: 4/5 stars
“For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away.
One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead.
When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed.”
My 10 yr old son got this in one of this OwlCrate Jr and refused to read it because it looked too childish. This does end up looking like more of a kids book than a book aimed at middle grade readers. The print is very large and there are pictures throughout. I however don’t mind larger print 🙂 so I went ahead and read the book. This ends up being a cute and touching story about a boy who is dealing with his gma’s decline when he stumbles across something amazing in the barn that a veterinarian has purchased from his gma.
I really enjoyed the idea of a veterinarian that takes care of mythical beasts in her small town barn. I loved how Eric finds his place in life by helping to care for these amazing creatures. This is a deliberately paced story that has a very simple plot and simple language but it’s a good book for what it is.
Much of the story is focused around Eric’s family dynamics. The whole family is struggling with the decline of Eric’s gma. Eric’a gma held the family together after Eric’s mother left (for somewhat ambiguous reasons). Now it’s Eric, his teenage brother, and his dad holding things together. None of these guys are very emotionally demonstrative and Eric is struggling with how to move on now that his gma isn’t there but is in a nursing home struggling with her health.
When Eric starts spending a lot of time with the neighboring vet and her daughter, Allegra, the two families end up helping to support each other.
The drawings throughout are really well done and I enjoyed them as well.
Overall this was a cute story, that is touching and heartfelt. I enjoyed it. However I do agree with my son, this is definitely intended for a younger audience. Although the main character in the book is 11 years old, the story is very simple both in the language structure used and the plot developed. I would recommend for younger middle grade readers or even younger children.