Brave Jack and the Unicorn


Unlike many picture books, Brave Jack and the Unicorn is not intended for young children who have not yet learned to read. The story is too complex, and the vocabulary is too advanced. It was shortlisted for the Silver Birch Award, so the Ontario Library Association considers it appropriate for readers in grades 4, 5 and 6. 

Here are some of the more unusual words in Brave Jack and the Unicorn, with their meanings as they are found in the book.


Verb: to make shoes. A cobbler is a person who makes shoes. 

“I cobble boots to pass the time in winter.”


Noun: a kind of pity which makes someone likely to be helpful or merciful.

The magic tree that holds the golden apples is called “the tree of compassion.” Jack wins the golden apple by taking the ax out of the tree.


Noun: Capable of dying. The opposite, immortal, means a being who cannot die. In Brave Jack and the Unicorn, the word mortal is used to contrast an ordinary person with the magician, who has powers beyond those of an ordinary person.

“The magician is behind us, running faster then a mortal man.”


Noun: a place where rocks are cut out of the ground for building.

“If you fail, you’re off to the quarry.”

Verb: to cut rocks out of a rock face for building stones

“Those who fail must quarry rocks to build a great new castle.”


Noun: problem or trouble.

“Jack explained his plight.”


Noun: a man who seeks to marry a woman

“Here’s another of your suitors, my dear.”  



Word Scramble 

Unscramble this list to find words from Brave Jack and the Unicorn. Not all of these words are on the vocabulary list above, but all are in the book.



nadgro                                                                                      pelap               bolbec             runconi           lormat             rayruq             glithp



caminiga         pomsinacos     rescnips           theswis            nengetalm       hidolilove


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