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Bella's Birthday Unicorn - Jessica Burkhart, Victoria Ying

I received an ARC of this book.

This was a cute book with a good world-setup and nice descriptive narration. Perfect easy-to-read format that keeps the reader engaged throughout. Great for young readers.

The only thing that really disinterested me about the book was that it was very, very, very, VERY stereotypically "girlie." We're talking unicorns, dresses, flowers, tiaras, rainbows, etc. Even the problems that Princess Bella faced were horribly "girlie" (her friends are jealous that she's a princess, she's nervous she won't get paired with a unicorn). It would have been nice to see a more well-defined female character. The only time I got really interested was when the mysterious Queen Fire showed up to crash Bella's eighth birthday party in the style of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Since I have an ARC the teaser for Book 2 was not included, but I would be interested to know the plot of the second one and to learn more about Queen Fire.

The ARC included rough drawings throughout, which looked very promising. I would be interested to see the finalized black-and-white artwork as well.

Overall, a cute book and a nice introduction to a new children's series. Scheduled for release August 2014, this chapter book holds promise for an interesting series.