Louie Lets Loose! Unicorn in New York, is the first in a new series by Rachel Hamilton for Oxford University Press’ children’s arm. It continues their excellent run of success in terms of transitional/chapter books with other books that have been featured here on Making Them Readers, such as Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody, the Stinkbomb & Ketchup Face series, Creature Teacher and the collaborations between Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre such as Oliver and the Seawigs and Cakes in Space.

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Louie is a unicorn who aspires to greatness. Bored of Story Land and the limited range of things magical unicorns can do there, he wants to head to New York and join the New York School for Performing Arts.

Things do not go quite as planned for Louie, but thanks to his sunny disposition and utter failure to recognise anything awful, he sails through life turning all the negative things that happen to him into positives. It’s not all sunshine and sparkles though and readers will find his adventures funny more than inspiring, which I approve of, although you may take the moral if you wish.

Louie meets an interesting cast of characters on his travels and they are set up to hopefully bloom in later books in the series.

This is fun and funny, fast paced and pitched perfectly so that it will appeal to both boys and girls. It is not pink and glittery, although there are elements of this, but they are poked fun at and there are plenty of slightly rude jokes and slapstick moments that children will find universally appealing.

The illustrations by Oscar Armelles are a great mix of hand drawn illustrations and photographs which gave the book a fresh and interesting look I hadn’t come across before. I really liked this.

Suitable for boys and girls aged 7-10. It’s a great chapter/transitional book for newly confident readers who are not yet ready for novels, an easy, fun read for older, more confident readers and something lovely to share at bed times with younger children.

The book was given to me in exchange for my honest opinion from the Amazon Vine Review programme.

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