Neon’s Secret Universe
Sibéal Pounder, illustrated by Sarah Warburton
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
This is a splendiferous, fantastically funny take on unicorns by the deservedly highly popular writer Sibéal Pounder.
Nine year old Neon Gallup has just moved with her parents to the town of Brunty. Her first impressions leave her far from impressed but little does she realise what adventures are in store.
Exploring in her new cobwebby bedroom, she comes upon a very sticky, goo-covered envelope bearing the words ‘SECRET! DANGEROUS! DO NOT TOUCH! Needless to say she ignores this and tips out a luminous green lipstick and within the lid is another message, an intriguing one. Now not long back Neon had decided to be as normal as possible and has taken to dressing in black but this changes everything, for that night using the lipstick, she draws a green line from her room to the bathroom, thus opening the portal to UNIverse. This is a secret place where unicorns live: real ones not the fake horse-like kind you imagine with a horn and rainbow mane. These are inventions to put humans off the scent thought up by Greg, whereas those in UNIverse are just people like all of us except for one thing. This clever ruse has worked well for goodness knows how long but now by accident, into this secret realm has stepped young Neon Gallup.
Almost immediately she finds herself facing Moya McGlow who tells the visitor that she’s actually a real unicorn with magic and that they are in Lumino, UNIverse’s capital city. This zany world has
magic made with goo, Gooheads and other oddities.
Pretty soon Neon is told she has until her imminent tenth birthday to learn how to command goo or she must remain forever in this weird world. Thus begins her unlikely quest.
A magical mix indeed, with its endearing resourceful, albeit somewhat impulsive protagonist, an evil villain on the loose, a degree of scariness and a satisfying conclusion, this madcap laugh-out-loud romp, illustrated in suitably zany style by Sarah Warburton, the first of a new series, is a wonderful tribute to friendship, teamwork, nonconformity and being yourself. Moreover the scene is cleverly set for the next Neon adventure.