Layla, the Last Black Unicorn

Award-winning comedienne-actress Tiffany Haddish’s newest book “Layla, the Last Black Unicorn” is her first written for children, ages 4-8. The 19-page book co-written by Jerdine Nolen, features the colorful work of illustrator Jessica Gibson.

While Haddish’s first book, “The Last Black Unicorn,” was autobiographical of her experience growing up in foster care and intended for mature audiences, the newest book is for anyone who has ever felt excluded or left out, whether in the classroom, on the schoolyard, or even in the workplace.

Layla, with her luxurious dark mane of curly unicorn hair, is from Overlook Woods and is anxious about her first day of school. As she makes her way to Unicornia, Layla worries she won’t fit in. Reassured by her woodland creature friends, Layla arrives at school full of hope and optimism, until she finds she’s the only black unicorn there.

Eager to fit in, Layla joins a game of Horn Ball already in progress. They don’t play Horn Ball where Layla’s from and in her eagerness, the newest addition to Unicornia immediately pokes a hole in the ball with her horn. The other unicorns, including Babsy and Peachy Pink, leave Layla standing alone on the playground, her head down and the deflated ball at her feet. The pair encourage all the other unicorns to ignore Layla as well.

Later, when a unicorn class field trip through Fiddle Dee Deep Forest results in a bunch of lost and frightened unicorns, Layla guides her classmates to safety.

There’s a moral to this story, maybe even more than one. It could be that we’re all special underneath the colors we wear or maybe it’s that we each have something to contribute to the team. Perhaps the moral is that we should learn to value one another despite our differences.

Children will definitely enjoy the colorful unicorn characters and the ease of reading this oversized book. It might also be a good, early lesson in treating others with respect.

— Reviewed by Valarie Edwards