Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Sugarlump and the Unicorn

Donaldson, Julia (Author)
Monks, Lydia (Illustrator)
Macmillan 2013 28 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780230769885 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, recurring patterns, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Sugarlump is a rocking horse who lives happily with a boy and a girl. When the children go to school, he gets lonely and wishes to “be out in the big, wide world.” A magical unicorn appears and grants his wishes: Sugarlump pulls a farmer’s cart, trots on a farm, gallops down a race track and prances around a circus ring. Ultimately, he finds his dreams unsatisfying and longs to go home. But time has passed and the children have grown. The unicorn decides to grant him a final wish she knows the little horse will love.

This simple story is told in a lovely, lyrical lilt. Repetition and rhyme convey Sugarlump’s struggle with identity and true desire, making the story accessible to young readers and listeners. “Here in the open countryside/Is where I like to be./Clippety-clop, clippety-clop,/This is the life for me!”

Vibrant mixed-media illustrations will delight, with embossed glitter on every page. Detailed collages use textures of fabric, painted backgrounds and skies, with occasional photographic material to create the different environments. Exaggerated wide-eyed expressions alternate between joy and sadness, as the horse journeys to find his way in the world.

An excellent example of “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

  •  

    Why do you think the cover of this book boasts, “Glitter on every page”? What does this make you think will happen in the story?

  •  

    Discuss and list the pros and cons of being a rocking horse.

  •  

    As you read, join in for the repeating chorus, “Done came the voice of the unicorn.”

  •  

    If you were a horse like Sugarlump, and could live anywhere you wished, where would you choose to live? Write and draw to show the setting you would prefer.

  •  

    To help you enjoy the story, discuss teacher-selected words such as I wish, twisty silver horn, mane and tail.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss what you already know in English. Practise the new words.

  •  

    As you listen to the story read aloud, join in the repetitive chorus parts.

  •  

    Discuss Sugarlump’s wishes. How does he get them? When does he change them? Do you think he is perseverant enough? What would your wishes be? Create your own “wish come true” page in the same style.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Personal and Career Planning