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It's Okay to Be a Unicorn!
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It's Okay to Be a Unicorn!

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is known among all the other horses in Hoofington for his beautiful and creative handmade hats. But Cornelius is hiding a secret under his own tall, pointy hat: He's really a unicorn.

Hoofington is a friendly place, but its horses pass on lots of mean rumors about unicorns. When Cornelius is chosen to perform for this year's Hoofapalooza, will he f
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Imprint
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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As a metaphor for queerness or some other kind of difference, the message this book gives about "being a unicorn" is actually pretty terrible? At the end everyone automatically accepting you and then putting their own unicorn horns on to erase your difference is unrealistic and ultimately harmful. The way to talk about difference and marginalization is not to pretend that it's not important and maybe even doesn't matter at all. Also the horses who said mean things about unicorns and discriminate ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fabulous book! The message is amazing. All children should have this in their library. Be you. I highly recommend this book!
Sep 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
If you apply the themes of race or substitute being a unicorn to being queer, then this book has a horrible message of hide who you are until you convince enough people that you are cool enough to be accepted, and then watch them appropriate everything that was cool or unique about you.

Yes, I know this is a kids book, but it basically says that the unicorn that hides who it is can be accepted after his oppressors have profited off of him and he has proved he is a "good unicorn". This is a damagi
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure why this picture book isn't rated higher, but it is HILARIOUS. It's Okay to Be a Unicorn is a good lesson for understanding the importance of being okay with being different. Tharp focuses on reminding readers that our differences are what make us unique and that we should also embrace them. The alternative vocabulary used in this book had me laughing out loud (i.e. DJ Salad for DJ Khalid). I had the time of my life reading this to my daughter. The artwork was so vibrant and colorfu ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
I felt like this book was trying to be an allegory about how being gay is okay, which is nice. I wasn't too keen on the execution of the story. It was quite interesting to see how the whole town wanted creative ideas from the unicorn but hated unicorns, but there was a bit of a disconnect between all the things that made this unicorn a gay stereotype (glitter, pizzazz) and the things people hated about unicorns. Then, all that needs to change in society is the unicorn coming out of the closet as ...more
La Coccinelle
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
This is basically a book about self-acceptance, played out with equine characters.

Cornelius is a unicorn, but he hides that fact under a fancy hat. The rest of the town of Hoofington is comprised of more mundane creatures like horses and ponies. When the mayor asks Cornelius to make him an un-unicorny hat, Cornelius agrees. We're told that the other horses say mean things about unicorns, so Cornelius obviously has a reason to hide his true nature. But then he starts planting seeds among his frie
Joel Shoemaker
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Basically my biography. A must-read!!!!!!
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cornelius is known all throughout Hoofington for his creativity, and he has an opportunity to show it off at this year's Hoofapalooza festival. But the horses of Hoofington often say derogatory remarks about unicorns and that saddens Cornelius. What will happen when he makes his big revelation at the festival?

A little story that shares the joy of adding just a little extra zing to everything, and how sharing that zing can make you loved and overcome differences.
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Cornelius is a unicorn who hides his identity because of anti-unicorn prejudice in his town, including "mean things Mayor Mare and the other horses always said about unicorns." But then he decides to come out as a unicorn with a "prance to end all prances", on stage in front of the whole town...and everyone LOVES it!

For the first time, Cornelius felt great for being himself. He realized the things that made him different made him UNIQUE.

But Cornelius didn't feel great before just because he wa
Baby Bookworm
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: our-reviews
Hello, friends! Our book today is It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn! by Jason Tharp, a sweet tale of individuality and having the courage to be oneself.

On a sleepy isle lies the town of Hoofington, which is populated entirely by equines – horses, ponies, but NOT unicorns, who are the subject of vicious rumors. Cornelius, a citizen of Hoofington, is a talented hatmaker; in fact, he’s positively never seen in public without one of his signature hat creations. Hoofington’s townsfolk are all a-tizzy, prepar
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
It’s Okay to be a Unicorn by Jason Tharp. PICTURE BOOK. Imprint (Macmillan), 2020. $18. 9781250311320



Cornelius J. Sparklesteed, a haberdasher, lives in a town where unicorns are not liked and for the yearly Hoofapalooza the mayor wants Cornelius to make him his least unicorn-like hat ever. Cornelius goes along with all of this until the night of the Hoofapalooza and he makes the brave move to reveal that he is a unicorn.

The bubblegum
BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
What I Loved:
It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn! is really focusing on how differences are okay and make each one of us special. I loved the way this is woven into the story with such perfection!

How I Felt:
The Story was so wonderful! Our secretly unicorn friend, Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is trying to hide that he is a unicorn from all his horse friends. His secret is shown to the reader early on in the book through the words, which I read to my daughter twice to see if she caught on to what the story was
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Jason Tharp’s It’s Okay to be a Unicorn is a delightful picture book about a creative and kind unicorn, Cornelius J. Sparklesteed, hiding his identity in a town of horses with irrational beliefs about unicorns. The town, Hoofington, bans unicorns, but is otherwise warm and welcoming. Cornelius makes fabulous hats for the town’s citizens and, as a result, is asked by the mayor to perform in the town’s holiday festival Hoofapalooza. The catch: the mayor requ
Monica Exley
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5/5
A kindness movement among the nations. I predict that this book will be a world traveler. It will bring so much joy and inspire great kindness to everyone it reaches. It will touch the hearts of a diverse population of people. This book is a wonderful book about a unicorn that inspires change to those around him by being brave and fearless. Is he different? Y.E.S.! However, he embraces his difference and isn’t afraid to reveal to the world what makes him
Featuring colorful artwork rendered digitally with Illustrator and Photoshop on Wacom Cintiq, this picture book contains a positive and affirming message about being true to oneself. After all, the things about each of us that might seem odd or strange to others are the very things that make us special and unique. And sometimes, as Cornelius J. Sparklesteed finds, others will be happy to celebrate those particular qualities that make you the person you are. Cornelius is known for the creative ha ...more
Stephanie Bange
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Jumping on the "unicorn bandwagon", this book reassures children it's OK to be different.

Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is active in his town of Hoofington. The problem is that the horses in town talk poorly about unicorns - which is what Cornelius is, hiding his horn under his hat. He helps the equines in Hoofington change their minds about unicorns.

Tharp pulls out all of the horse-stops in this one. Horse-themed puns galore are everywhere (ex. "Neighbraham Lincoln", "Mayor Mare", "hooferific") - al
Eliza Claire
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The plot of Its Ok To Be A Unicorn is about a unicorn named Cornelius who is unique from his peers. He is unapologetically himself and stands out from the rest. This book is designed to teach the kids that it’s OK to be themselves and “different “from the crowd.
The character in the story is a unicorn named Cornelius who is different from the other unicorns and has a certain flair to him that the other unicorns don’t quite understand.
The illustrations are extremely colorful and vibrant. In each i
Stephany Pachowka
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn! is fun to read that inspires kids to celebrate their unique differences. I laughed a lot at the wild words the author constructed, such as “Mayor Mare,” “Hoofington,” and “Hoofapalooza.”

The height of the story and proceeding action was kind of disappointing. It missed the mark on the moral point of the story. Overall, it’s a good book kids will love listening to and enjoy the colorful illustrations.
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
The book was cute, and the message was solid, but I wish the resolution hadn't felt so forced and rushed. It seemed simple and normal for the horses who knew the main character to have no problem with his hidden identity, but the mayor??? Sorry, but for a character who seemed solidly but oddly opinionated to suddenly reverse course like that didn't feel natural at all.
The basic message of "be yourself" was good. I just wish it had lived up to the quality of the start of the book.
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book with my 3.5 year old. Bright colorful illustrations, funny made up words, and rainbow farts made this a fast favorite. I agree that the discussion of differences and prejudice could be more nuanced, BUT that's my adult perspective. For a 3 year old, this met her right at her comprehension level. She took away that everyone is different, it's good to be different, and it's bad to be mean to those who are different because it makes them sad. It starts a conversation that I can the ...more
Laia (Leah)
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: storytime
This book is a fantastic teaching tool to help children learn that it is okay to be different. Everyone is unique and that is a good thing.

(view spoiler)
Molly Cluff (Library!)
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Patrons will snatch it because unicorns are hot right now. A bit cheesy (celebrating your "Unicorniness" instead of "uniqueness". A unicorn (in disguise) lives in a community of horses that make fun of unicorns. He prepares a special act for their "Hoofapalooza" festival in which he reveals that he is, in fact, a unicorn himself. Not breaking any new ground here, but patrons will enjoy it. ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is best known for making the best hats in Hoofington, a town that has a decree signed by Mayor Mare against unicorns. After the mayor commissions Cornelius to make him a hat for the Hoofapalooza, he's so impressed that he chooses Cornelius to perform the final show at Hoofapalooza. Cornelius puts a plan together that will amaze and surprise all in attendance. ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it
The insinuation is definitely towards a pro-LGBTQ+ message, though I wish it could have been a little more explicit. That said, could this be good for folks who need a more gentle entry point towards acceptance? The mayor should have been reprimanded in some way for being discriminatory for sure, though.
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Everybody is a horse in Hoofington. and they say bad things about unicorns. Cornelius, it seems, is a horse too. He makes and wears hats and he's a good friend to everyone. He comes up with good ideas too. In the end he takes off his hat and nobody cares that he is a unicorn. Bright pictures, cute story, the granddaughters loved it. ...more
Props for celebrating Cornelius's uniqueness, and for the friends who embrace his creative input.

Meh to the idea that an entire community can be nasty toward someone for inherent characteristics, and then magically accept those same people because... (why?).

So. A mixed bag with cute illustrations.
Kathi Rauscher
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a great story. Possessing a secret because you think you will not be as liked or accepted as you are without people knowing. Cornelius shares his secret in a grand way and gets an unexpected reaction.
Raven Black
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
While this is a fun and quirky story, it has been done before (be yourself, being different is okay). The best part is when Cornelius reviles his surprise and the crowd (with the exception of three special friends) goes quiet. The representation of this in the art is a delightful twist.
Margaret Boling
5/19/2020 ~ Unicorns - the readers in my elementary library will eat it up (hopefully not literally). However, from my perspective, the theme seemed to be too pointed and the turning point in the unicorn's unveiling was too sudden. ...more
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