Illustrated by Lydia Corry
For ages 4+
Huge welcome to everyone reading this who found me today via the Oxford University Press Blog Tour! Lovely to see you! I'm so happy to share my book review with you all. Hopefully you'll feel inspired to borrow a copy from your library or purchase a copy from your local bookshop. It’s Pride month here in the UK and Jodie Lancet-Grant and Lydia Corry are back with their latest kids picture book ‘The Marvellous Doctors for Magical Creatures’! Yay! Their debut kids picture book ‘Pirate Mums’ published in 2021, also with Oxford University Press, was (and still is) a big hit, having landed on shelves when us booksellers we were bemoaning the severe lack of Mama & Mummy books for younger readers.
What I love about how these two creators blend and weave their lyrical and illustrative magic is that these stories are not ‘in-your-face message’ books about same-sex parenting, but instead normalise same-sex parenting. There’s a real adventure going on here and if our protagonist has two dads then that’s her reality and we are invited to glide through this fun and engaging story. What’s more, if there is a child in your class or home who has same-sex parents, then how wonderful that they will see themselves represented in this book! Apologies for the iPad shots, my paper review copy didn't arrive in time.
About the story
I love a map! It’s not that often you see one as detailed as this at the start of a kids picture book. Thank you Lydia Corry for this beautiful pink map at the start of the book… children will love tracing their fingers around the streets, railway tracks and across the bridge to discover the places featured in the story.
There’s enough text to keep children fully engaged and the illustrations are bursting with characters (can you spot the Pirate Mums?) and I can stare at these pages for ages finding fun and quirky mythical and fantastical characters to examine and talk about. It goes without saying that you will find fully inclusive characters within the pages of this book.
On to the story… Meet Ava and her dads. Her dads are doctors for magical creatures think dragons with sore throats, sneezy centaurs, mermaids with measles and fairies with injured wings) and they have a practice in town. They are the goto medics! Ava loves to help out.
It just so happens that one of the new patients one day, a unicorn called Glitterbug, arrives with a tummy ache. Daddy and papa are at a loss to what might be the cause. Ava wants to help solve this mystery and her dads have noticed how much she’s been helping out at the practice lately. They approve and she’s off to find some clues the next day.
On arriving at Dewdrop Meadow, Ava sees unicorns of all colours leaping about with joy and rainbows, all except Glitterbug, who still doesn’t feel well.
The reader learns that there is to be a big party, with cakes and decorations, dressing up and dance routines. Ava takes her notebook and observes the preparations alongside Glitterbug, and along come some clues to what might be setting Glitterbug apart from the other unicorns… can the reader spot the differences? Kids get your sleuthing hats on!
Ava feels rather disappointed as she hasn’t quite worked it out yet. Her dads are so sweet and encouraging. It’s best she gets a good nights sleep and revisit the mystery-solving in the morning.
It’s the day of the unicorn party. Can Ava crack the case? How can she help Glitterbug to feel better? Perhaps the answer will reveal itself with the help of a big thunderstorm, some lightning and lots of mud!!
This is a gorgeous story demonstrating how we can love to care for others, and respect their differences, and especially celebrates how children can have so much untainted empathy. Glitterbug doesn’t want to be pink and into sparkles and rainbows, she has her own style, different to the pack, but just as cool. Her anxiety was making her feel poorly and sad. Fitting in won’t make you truly happy, it’s important to be yourself to find your own style and identity, and Ava finds out “there’s more than one way to be a unicorn!”
About the creators
Jodie Lancet-Grant (author)
Jodie Lancet-Grant is an award-winning publishing professional and children's author. She was moved to write for children after she searched for picture books featuring LGBT+ families, to read to her twin daughters, wanting to see their family reflected back at them.
Lydia Corry (illustrator)
Lydia Corry studied painting at the Royal College of Art. Since graduating she has followed in the footsteps of her mother Sally Gardner and devoted herself to children's books.
Buy the book!
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Publication date: 2 June 2022
Format: Kindle e-book
Publication date: 2 June 2022
Also available by Jodie Lancet-Grant and Lydia Corry:
*Oxford University Press provided me with a review copy of 'The Marvellous Doctors for Magical Creatures'.
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