Reviews /

Bumble & Snug and the Excited Unicorn

Authored by Mark Bradley
Published by Hachette Children's Group

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Best friends Bumble and Snug are Bugpops (little monsters filled with big feelings) who live in Bugbopolis. They are also very different as the first few pages of this entertaining graphic novel explains. Bumble is a ball of energy and enthusiasm who, ‘…forgets that not everyone wants a life of constant excitement’ whereas Snug takes a more measured, considered, and caring approach to life. When Snug decides it’s time to visit the unicorn forest, so that he can tick it off his Mythical Creatures Spotter’s Guide, Bumble thinks it’s a great idea. Then they meet Sparklehoof, the excited unicorn of the title and the three agree it would be great fun to become superheroes. However, on returning to Bugopolis things quickly spiral out of control and Bumble and Snug agree that Sparklehoof needs to rein himself in a bit.

This graphic novel is part of a series exploring some of the big feelings young children grapple with as they learn more about the world and their place in it. The story is told with great humour and big themes are tackled within the context of a fun adventure. The setting of Bugopolis is certainly safe and appealing to the young reader with its bright colourful images. Bumble and Snug are likeable caricatures who, although they are different, make an excellent team, working together to help Sparklehoof realise that sometimes too much excitement is not a good thing.

The final pages of the book provide some tips on managing excitement levels, in language appropriately pitched for a young audience, plus instructions for drawing your own Bumble or Snug or even creating your own Bugpop. Bumble & Snug and the Excited Unicorn is a fun vehicle for talking with children about self-management, is accessible in terms of independent reading and would sit well in a KS1 classroom.

Shortlisted for The Week Junior 2023 Children’s Book of the Year Illustrated Category