It wasn’t easy for young children when the Jewish people escaped from Egyptian slavery and set out on their arduous journey across the desert toward the Promised Land. Yes, they had helpful, encouraging words from leaders such as Miriam and the heavenly manna, which tasted just like their favorite foods, but the days were blazing hot, and the nights were icy cold. Young Zachary and Abigail couldn’t help but wish for a magical creature that would make the journey seem faster and more entertaining.
Their wish comes true with the appearance of a sparkling unicorn, which leads the children and their friends to a beautiful oasis, where they splash, play, and refresh their tired bodies. Unseen by any adults, the magical unicorn accompanies the children on their long trek, providing hope and encouragement until the journey’s end and their long-awaited entrance to the Land of Israel, their new home.
A note explains that the story is based on an ancient rabbinic discussion regarding a “tachash,” an unidentified animal mentioned in the Bible. It emphasizes the importance of hope and optimism, which are vital to achieving success after a long ordeal, leaving the reader much to think about and discuss when dealing with tribulations of their own.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.