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Brave Jack and the Unicorn

TitleBrave Jack and the Unicorn
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsMcNaughton, Janet Elizabeth, and Susan Tooke
PublisherTundra Books
ISBN Number9780887766770
DescriptorsFolklore; Love; Magic; Newfoundland; Picture Book

Newfoundland and Labrador


Jack is the youngest of three boys. Poor Jack lacks beauty and brains, but he is kind and full of heart. However, his kindness is the family joke. But when his older brothers head off into the world and mysteriously disappear, it is up to Jack to find them. On his way, Jack encounters a variety of creatures in trouble and he does his best to help them out. In return, these creatures use their magic to thank Jack. During this journey, Jack hears about a princess who is being held captive by an evil magician, and decides he must save her. Upon finding the princess, the magician gives Jack three tests – and if Jack completes these tests he will save the princess. Brave Jack and the Unicorn is a folktale set in Newfoundland and is written in third-person, omniscient perspective.

The illustrations in Brave Jack and the Unicorn are realistic paintings of Newfoundland landscapes. From seaport towns to cliffs overlooking the ocean, these detailed, realistic Atlantic Canadian landscapes are also filled with images from a more magical, fairy tale realm, which include princesses, sorcerers, unicorns and dragons. Painted with acrylic, Tooke's illustrations are vivid in colour, and, similar to the realistic landscapes, feature detailed portraits of the various characters in the tale.


"In a little cove by the sea lived an old widow with her three sons. Tom, the eldest, was as handsome as the day. The middle son, Bill, was as clever as a cat. But the youngest son, Jack, was neither handsome nor clever, and gave his mother much trouble besides. When she sent him to town to sell turnips, he gave away half to beggars.

'Why would you do such a thing?' his mother cried.

'I couldn’t bear to see them hungry,' Jack replied.

His brothers laughed. 'Tom’s face may win his fortune,' his mother said, 'and Bill has his wits. But you, Jack, will never amount to anything.'"