The First Unibear

Children - Picture Book
48 Pages
Reviewed on 01/22/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Kathleen is a prolific writer covering multiple genres. Her main focus is on children's books, educational chapter book adventures and Christian fiction. Shields has 30 published books, many of which are award-winning and she has many more ideas for future books. She runs her own website and graphic design company and a publishing company. She does what she loves and it shows in her work. Shields also attends various festivals, trade shows and book signings throughout the year.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rolanda Lyles for Readers' Favorite

Little Bear loves to run and play. He chases birds, climbs trees, and is so curious about the world. One day, while Little Bear went exploring, he spotted a butterfly and followed it to a clearing where he found a horse that was stuck. Little Bear hurried to help the horse and set him free, but once he set the horse free, he realized that it was no ordinary horse. It was a unicorn, but not everyone could see it. Little Bear was brave and kind so he could see the unicorn. Little Bear went back and told his friends, but not everyone believed him. Bunny believed and prayed that she could meet a unicorn too. So Little Bear and Bunny continued to go about helping other animals that needed it and one day something amazing happened. Little Bear and his friend Bunny were brave and kind and you can be too.

Kathleen Shields's The First Unibear is a wonderful children's adventure story that promotes kindness, bravery, and faith in the goodness of others. The illustrations are done by Aashay Utkarsh and they are vibrant and captivating for young readers. The story flows with a rhyme scheme that is catchy and perfect for reading to children. The First Unibear is a great, imaginative children's story that encourages compassion and helpfulness to others and the belief that we can all achieve goodness. The First Unibear is an inspirational tale that would be a great addition to any child's library.


Every kid needs this book! Love the lesson, writing style and art work! This is a DO NOT MISS, guys!


The author presents a story through rhyme, which draws young people to a curious bear cub’s adventures. The cub is first excited by spring times gifts: blue skies, warm sun, fluttering butterflies, other young critters and fresh honey, if he can distract the bees. Soon, he ventures away from his cave and finds a horse in distress. The equine is tangled in a vine. Here, the author adds a Bible verse to question what the horse might do when freed. As you may expect, the horse has been the doer of good deeds, and is, therefore, awarded a horn on its head. So, the bear cub freeing the horse rewards him as well with a horn on its head, making it a unibear. When the cub and bunny then help out a squirrel who falls from its nest by scaring away the wolf, the bear cub receives his horn, too. And, so it continues for all the pure of hearts who care for others.


God answers prayers. When all seems dark and dismal, He's only a prayer away.
When bear related his story to his friends, some were awed, while others scoffed. So it is when we try to tell others the 'good news' and spread the 'word.' Some people will be hears only, while others will be doers. When you do a good deed, do not do so with expectations. Do it with a good heart and the purest of intentions. When others see this, they will do the same and thus start a chain reaction of goodness.


I first noticed this book seemed to be a longer children's book, but then when I read the story to my daughter, I understood why. This intricate story tells the tale of Bear who happens upon a sad little white horse laying on the ground. The two form a beautiful friendship, which results in how The First UniBear came to be. (I won't give too much away). The colorful illustrations are beautifully drawn and remind me of some of the more traditional children's books. This book is great to read to younger children and not too difficult for older children to enjoy.

Chris B.

I loved this story. While it’s a picture book and is obviously meant for young children, it has a great message that both kids and adults could learn from. The illustrations are beautiful. Every page is so colorful.
The message of this story is to be kind and pure of heart. By helping others, you can create a domino effect of good deeds.
This book is well written using rhyme, and it has a great flow. I would highly recommend this book!


I had the pleasure of knowing the author when she was a child. My mind wanders back to a little girl with twinkles in her eyes who had a very active spirit and imagination. And this book is definitely proof of that. Thoroughly enjoyed the story of kindness paid forward from the eyes of a very wise 10 year old.

Avid Reader

This is a beautifully written and illustrated book about how a bear rescues a unicorn and receives the gift of a 'horn' to become a unbear. But instead of stopping it there, he continues to help and care about other creatures, who pay forward the kindness that unbar has shown them. Each of them end up getting rewarded. The message of this book is very powerful. A perfect read for children and their caregivers.

Midwest Book Review: Diane Donovan, Se

The First Unibear by Kathleen J. Shields is a picture book story decades in the making. The hardcover is illustrated in lovely full color by Aashay Utkarsh, while its paperback coloring book version is presented in black-and-white so kids can also enjoy a coloring book experience.
The vivid story lends to read-aloud as a playful little bear cub explores his world. The tale is presented in rollicking rhymes accompanied by spiritual and psychological inspections as the cub stumbles upon a sad horse in the forest:
“Hello Mister Horse, are you feeling okay?
Why look so sad on such a fine day?
The birds they are singing, the flowers in bloom,
why Mister Horse, do you show so much gloom?”
It takes a kind heart to reap the rewards of helping another, and when little bear is given insights (which he shares with others) about the horse, unexpected changes take place. Parents who choose this inviting fantasy story for kids will be able to not only embellish the rhymes and enjoy the colorful forest animals, but can explain the bear's discoveries, dilemmas, and choices as well as the special form of magic which evolves when the tables are turned. Lessons about kindness, giving, rewards, sharing magic, and appreciating spiritual components in life abound in the guise of a fun fantasy story that kids and read-aloud parents will appreciate.
There is nothing in the children's picture book world that's quite like The First Unibear. Its winning messages offer much food for thought in a detailed, fun story that will keep young listeners engaged and thinking and read-aloud parents delighted by the numerous opportunities to discuss lessons about the many types of gifts received from helping others.

Theodocia McLean

Beautiful bright, colorful illustrations by Aashay Utkarsh will delight children. This enchanting story told by Award Winning Author Kathleen J. Shields inspires children as they join Bear on his adventurous day outside. Bear’s act of kindness and pure heart brings him face-to-face with a magical unicorn. Bear’s woodland friends do not believe his unicorn story at first. Many lessons will be learned, including acts of kindness naturally spread to others, even if it starts with ‘The First Unibear’.
I recommend this teaching kindness picture book for all young readers 4-10 years old. ‘The First Unibear’ should be placed in community, church, and school libraries. I hope this book finds its ways to those children confined to hospitals and homeless shelters. There is even a black and white coloring book to purchase so the magic can continue.

Amazon review

Wonderful story about a Bear that learns about the benefits of helping others and the rewards that come with doing so.
Beautiful illustrations and great rhyming. It is based on strong moral foundations.

The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

‘A superbly illustrated picture book with a strong message of kindness. A RED RIBBON WINNER and highly recommended!’

Good Reads Book Reviewer

A brave bear cub loves to explore the forest he lives in. There are so many wonderful animals and things to see in nature. One day he follows a butterfly even into the dark part of the woods he hasn’t been into before. Continuing to follow the butterfly, he finds a clearing with shimmering light. Laying in the clearing is a horse that looks hurt, and Bear rushes over to help the horse. The horse is caught in a vine, and Bear is able to free him. He is rewarded with seeing the horse for his true self, a unicorn. Bears good deed starts a chain reaction of kindness and compassion through the woods, and soon the unicorn magic is spreading to all the animals in the forest.

The First UniBear, written by Kathleen J. Shields, started as a project when she was only ten years old. This beautifully written picturebook contains the messages of kindness, compassion, and faith. Bear’s pure heart and compassion for others allowed him to receive his horn. His good friend Bunny prayed for a chance to meet a unicorn and had faith that they existed even though she had never seen one. Once Bunny helps save a baby squirrel, she gains the ability to see a horn on Bear. Surprised, Bear and Bunny talk to Unicorn again and learn how kindness spreads and how showing compassion is contagious.

At critical moments in this story, there are references to scriptures. This is a great way to introduce the sometimes confusing concepts of scripture to young children. The whimsical rhyming style by Shields gives the story an excellent flow and makes it a joy to read aloud to children.

Complementing the touching storyline is the bold and colorful artwork of Aashay Utkarsh. The art style brings characters to life with expressive faces, and the scenery highlights the emotions that go along with the story on each page.

The First UniBear is a heartwarming picture book sharing the love of God with children and teaching them how they too can spread love and kindness to help make the world a better place.