Cover image for The last unicorn
The last unicorn
Beagle, Peter S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, [1968]


Physical Description:
212 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
General Note:
"A ROC book."
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.2 11.0 70085.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



" The Last Unicorn is the best book I have ever read. You need to read it. If you've already read it, you need to read it again."--Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Name of the Wind

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. So she ventured out from the safety of the enchanted forest on a quest for others of her kind. Joined along the way by the bumbling magician Schmendrick and the indomitable Molly Grue, the unicorn learns all about the joys and sorrows of life and love before meeting her destiny in the castle of a despondent monarch--and confronting the creature that would drive her kind to extinction...

Author Notes

Peter S. Beagle was born in Manhattan in April of 1939. During his senior year of high school, Beagle entered a poem and a short story in the 1955 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest, not knowing that the Grand Prize was a college education. He won that prize and went on to spend four years at the University of Pittsburgh after graduating from high school in 1955. In his sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh, Beagle entered another contest, winning first place again in Seventeen Magazine's Short Story Contest. At the age of 19, he published "A Fine and Private Place." Beagle graduated college with a degree in Creative Writing and a Spanish minor and then spent a year overseas. When he returned, his new-found agent had enrolled him in a writing workshop at Stanford.

After his first few published stories, Beagle supported himself and his family as a freelancer for many years. In the 70's he began to write screenplays, as well as take up the hobby of singing folk songs at a local club. Beagle has published music as well as books, both his passions, and both lucrative. Beagle gives lectures and readings at universities, and also hosts writing workshops at schools such as the University of Washington and Clarion West. His works have been translated into 15 languages. Beagle has also written a script for Star Trek: The Next Generation and the screenplay for the animated feature version of The Lord of the Rings.

In 1987, Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" was proclaimed the Number 5 All Time Fantasy Novel. That same year, "The Innkeeper's Song" won the Mythopoetic Fantasy Award. In 1997, "The Unicorn Sonata" won the Locus Poll Award for Best Novella, and in 1998, "Giant Bones" won the same award as well as being nominated for the 1998 World Fantasy Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Beagle originally published what has become his hallmark novel of a unicorn questing to find out what happened to the rest of her kind more than 40 years ago. In this full-color graphic-novel adaptation, the characters and moods of the story are beautifully maintained: the unicorn herself sheds a pink glow, while Schmendrick the magician provides the balance of gravity. Although female characters here sport a superabundance of curly locks, their faces, like those of the male characters, are fluid and expressive of a wide range of emotions. Panel sizes vary to fit the scope of the scene, with full pages given over to the tale's most dramatic moments. A package that is both complimentary and complementary of its origins, this version will attract both those who already know the original story and readers who have yet to discover it. An interview with Beagle concludes the volume.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Since it was first published in 1968, Beagle's beloved fantasy novel has been made into a stage play and a film-and now this gorgeous, emotive graphic novel adaptation. Set in a fully realized but slightly tongue-in-cheek fantasy world that has inspired everything from The Princess Bride to Stardust, Beagle's story is a romantic fable about a regal unicorn who leaves the forest she has protected since time immemorial to find more of her kin. After a short spell of imprisonment by a witch's traveling circus, she journeys onward with an accident-prone magician, hoping to find the answer to her quest in the land of a coldhearted king and a monstrously fearsome red bull. Along the way, the unicorn and her good-hearted but hapless companion have many encounters, including one with a Robin Hood-esque group of bandits who seem dropped in from a Monty Python skit. Beagle's sumptuously descriptive writing, adapted ably by Gillis, casts a spell throughout, while De Liz's glowing, painterly artwork meshes perfectly with the haunting otherworldly beauty of the story. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Beagle's odd fable has collected millions of fans since its 1968 publication and is considered a fantasy classic. Fearing that she's the last of her kind, a unicorn-accompanied by an incompetent magician and the former girlfriend of a cowardly outlaw-journeys to free the other unicorns from evil King Haggard. It's a mashup of quest tales, heroic and otherwise, about seeking family (the Unicorn), love (Haggard's son, Prince Lir), power (Haggard), competence (Schmendrick the magician), and adventure (Molly). Yet beyond archetypes, the engaging characters carry the narrative, which becomes a quasi-Rorschach for readers to find in it what they will. Gillis and De Liz's adaptation succeeds with overall visual loveliness and striking design and coloring, although some details don't quite fit. The Unicorn, for example, seems too My Little Pony about the head, while her human persona, Amalthea, looks childishly dim-witted. But De Liz shines with the ornamentally grotesque Mommy Fortuna and her harpy. VERDICT Many fans of the story should enjoy this comics version, and new readers will find it an easygoing and beautiful read. Recommended for tweens and up.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-A beloved story is now a graphic novel in this excellent adaptation. A unicorn leaves her forest home to find out if she is the last of her kind, befriending Schmendrick, a hapless magician, and Molly Grue, a bandit leader's runaway wife. These are vivid and lovable characters, and the story is filled with action, romance, and humor. Much of the original novel's lyrical language has been included, and readers will be eager to find out if the unicorn will give up her quest for love, or if any of Schmendrick's spells will ever turn out right. The legendary creature resembles the one in the film, but De Liz's artistic vision is original. This unicorn shimmers and glows, her mane framing her face with Art Nouveau-style tendrils. The illustrations are graceful and detailed, and inked in warm, glowing colors. This is a worthy successor to the classic novel and film.-Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.