Kevin the Unicorn

It’s Not All Rainbows

Written and illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner
32 pages  •  Published 2019 (Dial Books)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Preschool through 3rd grade.
Publisher's Summary: Everyone knows that unicorns are perfect. They are glamorous and glittery, and their smiles make rainbows appear! But Kevin is having a less-than-perfect day. First, he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed …on the floor. Then he discovers that his mane is so wild that even his Super-Perfect-Hair-Day-Spray can’t tame it. And the day just gets worse from there. Kevin does his best to keep his outlook sunny, but it’s hard to keep smiling when everything goes horribly wrong!
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: This is a silly, sparkly book about Kevin the Unicorn who wakes up to a bad day, and by the end of the book realizes that “it’s okay to not feel okay.” The book is great for a kid who is reluctant to share when they’re feeling down or having a bad day due to a sense that they’re supposed to be/ act happy all the time. It normalizes bad days and highlights how problematic it is to pretend to be happy when one’s “insides [don’t] feel smiley at all.”
Would a child like it? Everyone has a bad day now and then, and this book does a lovely job normalizing this. It’s a fun story with an important message.
Evidence-Based Practices: Emotional Processing
Tone: Funny, upbeat
Story Quality: This story is really fun and refreshing. It is essentially poking fun at toxic positivity and ends with the conclusion that everyone has bad days sometimes, including unicorns.
Illustrations: Brightly colored, rainbow-filled illustrations that have the look of a retro cartoon.
Representation: Kevin is a male unicorn (he uses he/him pronouns) with hot pink hair.
Psychological Practices: Kevin is a unicorn who holds the belief that he needs to “keep it happy” no matter what. When one thing after another goes wrong, he tries his typical strategy of pretending to be happy (“Kevin kept a smile on his face, even though his insides didn’t feel smiley at all”), until he finally snaps and admits that “this is a really horrible, lousy, awful day!” Once he says this out loud, several other unicorns confide that they are also having tough days (unicorn problems–a donut stuck on a horn, glitter in the eyes, etc.). Kevin realizes that even unicorns have bad days, and he doesn’t have to pretend to be happy all the time. The story ends with a reminder that it’s “okay to not feel okay.”
Concerns: None

Watch a Read-Aloud: YouTube (not affiliated with Dr. Annie's Bookshelf)