“And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.” (Isaiah 34:7 KJV)
If you ever come across this verse in the King James Bible, it might give you some pause. Unicorns and blood? In Isaiah? What is going on here? While it is important to note that King James is the only version that calls these creatures unicorns, it does beg the question, “What creature was Isaiah talking about? Rhino’s? Wild One-horned Oxen? How did the unicorn legend even start?” If you ask my Grandmother, she’ll tell you that the unicorns got their horns stuck in a tree on the way to the ark and that’s why you don’t see them anymore.
The First Unicorn is a picture book written in verse by Kathleen J. Shields with illustrations by Aashay Utkarsh, and it tries to answer these questions. You see in this story, unicorns aren’t mythical creatures who have names that sound like ice cream flavors and are all about rainbows and friendship. Nor did God create unicorns alongside horses, but instead gave horses unicorn horns as a reward for their kindness and good behavior.
The book begins thousands of years ago in an unnamed land, where there is a herd of selfish horses. They are sinful creatures who only think about themselves. Well, everyone but Aden. Aden is a colt with a kind heart who likes to put other’s needs before his own. While most unicorn stories are about girl unicorns, I found it refreshing to see a story about a boy unicorn. This is no mistake. Aden is meant to be a Christ-like figure in this story. While he does not lay down his life for others, he does display many fruits of the spirit including love, gentleness, and goodness. The story itself is very episodic, with Aden helping out different animals throughout the land and protecting smaller creatures by chasing away their predators.
But things really change when an angel appears to Aden in the form of a bright light! The angel says that God has been watching Aden and is pleased with him. He wants to give him a gift: the unicorn horn. This horn has special powers, and Aden uses it for good. The story takes a dark turn toward the end when a wolf shows up and kills Aden’s mother. Parents of small children should be aware that there is blood in some of these illustrations but have no fear. Aden uses the unicorn horn that God gave him to heal his mother and bring her back to life! The book ends with Aden using his powers for good to help other animals, with a verse from Joshua to close out the book.
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,
and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This is a short, 48-page story with colorful illustrations and a rhyming scheme. My niece loves unicorns, but after a disastrous viewing of Lion King, I decided to hold back on this story and wait a few more years. That being said, there are some good lessons here about putting others before yourself, even if you are the only one around doing that. It also shows how your Father in Heaven sees what you are doing and will reward you. Some may be skeptical of a Biblical God giving a mythical creature magic powers. But the story is all about how God rewards good behavior. And that’s a pretty good message for the kiddos!
Kyle Morgan is a fulltime college student at Grand Canyon University, where he is majoring in Professional Writing for New Media. The youngest of three boys, Kyle is the final bird in his parent’s nest in the ever-growing state of Idaho. On his blog Cranial Flatulence – A comedy blog. (wordpress.com), he recounts his hilarious, and often embarrassing adventures of being a homeschool fundamentalist in the Pacific Northwest. You can check out his Facebook page or follow him on Instagram.