Were you a fan of Grimm's "The 12 Dancing Princesses" growing up? Is so, then you will like this new release based on 12 unicorns and a heroic little girl. When I first showed the book to the girls, they were in awe of the cover illustration. They both love horses and unicorns, so were eager to have me read this tale to them.
That evening at bedtime I chose this as our bedtime book. When Bella saw me open to the first page, she thought it was too wordy and just wanted me to show off the beautiful illustrations. But, I told her that I had read a few pages early in the day and that this was going to be a wonderful story all about the 12 magical unicorns. Tell a little one the word "magical" and they are hooked. :-) Bella couldn't wait for me to start reading to see what was so special about the unicorns.
About the book:
"Once upon a time, a king owned twelve enchanting unicorns that he locked up with golden chains. But every morning, he'd find the beautiful creatures peacefully asleep in their corral—with their chains shattered. Puzzled, he promised a reward to anyone who could reveal the unicorns' secret. With the help of a magic cloak, a little girl sets out to discover the truth . . . and help the special unicorn that she loves the most. This charming variation on “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” stars a delightfully spirited heroine and twelve magical unicorns."
As I was reading the story to them, the girls kept stopping me or asking me to turn the page back so that they could take in the beauty of the illustrations. I, too, found myself captivated by this book's illustrations as it really brought the story to life.
Oh, how I wished I was the the little girl, who was in love with the smallest unicorn. She was so lucky to have been able to ride this special unicorn.
The story itself is truly entertaining and will have children hooked from the beginning, staying engaged until the very last page, as they learn how the magical unicorns are able to break free from the golden chains the king locks them up with. Don't worry, I will not spoil the ending for you. Instead, I will just say that this is a perfect bedtime book for children of all ages, and one adults will enjoy reading and admiring the breathtaking illustrations. This fairytale talks about courage and love and will warm your heart as you share this story time and again with your child.
And, as a special treat, just for Inspired by Savannah readers, I am excited to share a Q&A with the author, Alissa Heyman, who took time out of her busy schedule to answer my author questions and give more insight into how this new release came about and what she is working on now. I love being able to share both book reviews and author interviews with you, and hope you enjoy my Q&A with Alissa, and will pick up a copy of her book, which will become a family favorite in your house, especially at bedtime.
Before I get into the Author Q&A, I wanted to share a little more about Alissa with you, if you are not familiar with her work.
About the Author:
"Alissa Heyman is a freelance writer who edited The Best Poems of the English Language (Mud Puddle Books). Her poems have appeared in the St. Petersburg Review, Lyric, and Quarto, and she has adapted The Big Book of… series for Sterling Publishing, which includes The Big Book of Horror, The Big Book of Fairies, andT he Big Book of Pirates. Alissa lives in New York City where she also curates the Perfect Sense poetry reading series at the Cornelia Street Café."
And, now on to the fun part...my interview with the author of "Twelve Dancing Unicorns." Enjoy!
My editor felt that retelling this fairy tale with unicorns instead of princesses would be a fresh and appealing approach and asked me to come up with an idea for an adaptation. I was intrigued by unicorn mythology, especially the lore behind the famous medieval Unicorn Tapestries, which led me to explore the idea of captivity and the role of young maidens in taming these wild creatures. I wanted to have a strong female protagonist who had a special bond with the unicorns.
Question 2: How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
I’ve always loved fantasy, and fairy tales are rich with archetypes that give them a universal resonance, which can be played with, updated, and reshaped.
Question 3: Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I have many favorite authors, some of whom are J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Lois Lowry, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, and Alan Garner.
Question 4: What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
My writing days vary as I’m also a freelance editor. I’m not a morning person, so I like to write in the late afternoon or at night and I often go to cafes or coffee houses to do my writing.
Question 5: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Bringing a work to its conclusion. I always see too many possibilities.
Question 6: What’s the best thing about being an author?
The best thing about writing is creating something out of your own imagination and becoming completely engrossed in that world.
Question 7: What are you working on now?
I’m working on several picture books, a collection of poetry, and a young adult novel.
Question 8: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write about something you care about, not what you think is going to sell, and read a lot of books in that genre.
Question 9: What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I’d like to be asked when I got interested in writing. My answer would be that I’ve always been interested in writing. I began writing a novel before I could actually write, dictating it to my cousin and illustrating it. Writing was not something that I decided to do consciously; it just seemed natural to me, like eating peanut butter and jelly!