Friday, 8 September 2017

The Pocket Unicorn

The Pocket Unicorn (2000) Post 252
The Pocket Unicorn is one of those bonsai books written for the education market. Perren wants a pet, and his carpenter father gives him a beautifully made cage and tells him he may go with his big brother to buy a pet, with the proviso he must be able to care for it without help.

Perren is thrilled and his brother Bokkie agrees amiably enough to go with him. Bokkie is a reader, so he simply walks along with Perren, deep in his book. When they reach the shops, Perren goes into the pet shop while Bokkie vanishes into the bookshop next door.

The rather odd woman in the shop offers Perren a pocket unicorn. At first skeptical, he sees the creature moving around and asks to hold it. The woman refuses. He has to buy it or leave it in the cage. Perren takes a chance and receives a jar, covered with waxed paper, with the unicorn within.

Bokkie, still reading, wants to know what he has, but Perren has a horrible feeling he's been duped, so he says he'll show him later...

When he finally de-jars the unicorn, Imperion Silverspear, he discovers it is a dictatorial and demanding little beast. He telephones the pet shop and speaks to someone who denies any knowledge of pocket unicorns or the woman who served Perren. Furthermore, he says the shop was closed on the day Perren was there. 

Having tried to fill the unicorn's demands and put up with its sneers, Perren finds it the last straw when it sneers at his father for being a carpenter. The worm turns. Perren informs the arrogant pet that henceforth it has a choice. It will be given when it needs, not what it wants. It can be satisfied with that, or else it can go to another home. The unicorn agrees to stay and becomes a happier and nicer beast as a result.

Perren was named after Perryn Court, a street near where I live. The editor changed the spelling. Bokkie was named for the nickname of one of my favourite people. I was MOST surprised (but pleased) that this wasn't changed in edits. 
Why a pocket unicorn? When I used to ride regularly in my teens, I often found places I wanted to ride but where access was difficult because of busy roads, tight gates or wire fences. I always wished I could shrink my pony to pocket size to make access easy.


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

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