The Desert Unicorn

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Product Details
$17.95  $16.69
Apples & Honey Press
Publish Date
11.2 X 8.6 X 0.5 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author
Bonnie Grubman is dedicated to preserving the magic of childhood. Bonnie and her husband have wonderful memories of their unforgettable rescue dog, Rusty... a clever food thief with big paws, and a pure heart.
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky led Big Tent Judaism and taught at Hebrew Union College. A leader in the development of innovative Jewish education, he is the author of more than 70 books. He lives in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Amberin is a South Asian illustrator born in London. She graduated from University College Falmouth. Since then, she has been drawing and dreaming. After joining The Plum Agency in 2019, Amberin has worked on many titles with publishers. She loves to work on a diverse array of subject matter, but her absolute favourite subjects to draw are spooky, sci-fi, and adventure things.


Two siblings, Abigail and Zachary, are "every kid" characters who are part of the Exodus of the Jewish people out of Egypt. Sure there's manna to eat and miraculous springs to drink from--even their clothing doesn't wear out. But when will they finally reach Israel? Eventually, a mysterious tachash-a legendary creature here depicted as a unicorn-shows up to entertain the children during their journey and to bring them comfort and hope.

The illustrations are cheerful and vibrant, and I liked that the Jews are shown in warm hues -- these are clearly MENA (Middle East and North African) people who have spent a lot of time in the sun.

I appreciated the details about leaving Egypt, the mention of Moses and Miriam's role as the Jewish people's leaders and the depiction of Miriam's trust. The plot is light on action, mostly focused on frolicking with the tachash, who can only be seen by the children. It should be noted that the tachash in the story is entirely independent from the tachash as it appears in the Torah and midrashim.

This book is certainly Jewish, with religious content and references to the Torah. It is age-appropriate and meets most other requirements of the Sydney Taylor Book Award. While many details are authentic, I found that when we finally meet the tachash, things gets less so. Perhaps the authors didn't want to mention the death of an animal, but the tachash's central role in the Exodus is that its skin covered the Tabernacle--which requires it to be killed and butchered. Additionally, there are multiple opinions about what the tachash was--which is not mentioned at all, not even in the end note.

This book will most interest young Jewish fans of unicorns, who will be delighted to find their favorite cryptid prancing across the pages, and preschool teachers, who could use this book as a springboard to discuss the Exodus or to perhaps introduce the various opinions about what the tachash was.

- Rebecca Klempner, Sydney Taylor Shmooze