The Legend of the First Unicorn

Lari Don; Illustrated by Nataša Ilinčić

Out of print

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This edition is out of print but a paperback edition is available. Click on the cover in the carousel below.

300 x 224 mm
Floris Books
Picture Kelpies: Traditional Tales
colour illustrations
Age Range:
From 4 to 7 years
36 pages
Publication date:
29 Sep 2020
Picture Kelpies


Once upon a time in Scotland, a young prince had lost his smile.

It seemed nothing could raise a smile from Prince Donald, not the baker's treats or the bard's songs. The court magician tried to make a new magical beast for the prince, but it was so awkward he let it go. Hana, the magician's granddaughter, was still determined to help Donald. Using her grandfather's magic, she invented a majestic creature with the body of a horse and the horn of a gazelle, and called him 'a unicorn'.

Hana and Donald playfully chase the unicorn through the forest, and it seems that this magical animal might hold the key to the prince's smile. But then they discover a darker beast, lurking in the trees. . .

The unicorn, magical and strong, is Scotland's national animal and heraldic symbol. Renowned Scottish children's author and storyteller Lari Don weaves an enchanting tale, inspired by local folklore, about the origins of the unicorn.

A perfect companion to bestselling picture book The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster, this stunning and authentic tale is atmospherically brought to life by Nataša Ilinčić's rich illustrations, and is destined to become a classic.


'Based upon a retelling of Scottish folklore by Lari Don, The Legend of the First Unicorn is beautifully illustrated throughout with museum quality artwork by Natasa Ilincic and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.'
-- Midwest Book Review

'If you like unicorns, you will love The Legend of the First Unicorn, and even if you are not necessarily a fan of unicorns, you should still read it because it is really well written.
It is a magical story of friendship, faith, and finding joy in life. The main characters are a boy and a girl who go on an adventure together, and one of them has planned it to cheer the other one up.
Unlike many other books about unicorns, this one is inspired by a Scottish legend, so it feels authentic and not cheesy like many other books on the subject. Readers who like fantasy, who are drawn to folk tales, or who have Scottish heritage will be especially excited about this book.
The book has beautiful illustrations that make you feel like you're right there in the magical forest looking for the unicorn. It is a good book for all ages because there is a good story but it's short enough to keep even young readers' attention.'
-- Kids Book Buzz

'There's plenty of magic, but it's old-style Scottish magic, without any pink glitter, and all the more potent for it... A perfect first foray into folklore for a young reader, but also a reminder that picture books are not just for pre-schoolers -- this rich blend of words and Natasa's striking pictures should be enjoyed by much older children (and grown-ups) too.'
-- Roaring Reads

'It's nice to read a book which focuses on something other than a unicorn's cuteness. Nataša's illustrations beautifully capture the majesty and strength of the unicorn. I also really liked the pages with swirling magic and powdered starlight.
I enjoyed The Legend of the First Unicorn -- a tale steeped in the tradition of Scottish oral history and full of wonder and magic.'
-- Get Kids Into Books

'In this large colorfully-illustrated Legend of the First Unicorn by Lari Don and illustrated by Natasa Ilincic a continually gloomy young prince is finally made to cheer up and enjoy life inspired by the sight of a unicorn's "elegant body of a horse, the nimble hooves of a goat and the glittering horn of a gazelle." The unicorn is 'created' by the court magician at the urging of his granddaughter Hana who is the prince's close but concerned friend. Later the two childhood chums meet up with the unicorn who is battling a lion in the forest. Donald and Hana save the day…and the unicorn. And the once-sad prince, who shows great courage fighting side by side with the unicorn, finally smiles!'
-- Vermont County Sampler


Lari Don has worked in politics and broadcasting, but is now a full-time writer and storyteller. She grew up in the north-east of Scotland, and lives in Edinburgh. She is the author more than 20 books for children of all ages including the Fabled Beasts Chronicles and Spellchasers trilogy for middle grade readers, Mind Blind for young teens, and picture books The Tale of Tam Linn, The Secret of the Kelpie, and The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster.

Nataša Ilinčić is a designer and illustrator originally from Croatia and now living and working in Edinburgh. She is particularly inspired by magic and folklore. She is the illustrator of The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster.

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