I sampled a couple books from the series and first I'm looking at Unicorn and Yet. The first book, Sparkly new friends, introduces Unicorn who is pink, has a rainbow mane, can fly, and is, well, sparkly. Yeti is big and fluffy and... not so sparkly. Or is he? When Unicorn sees something sparkling, he flies down to investigate and discovers Yeti. By crashing into him. Yeti wishes he was sparkly and Unicorn decides to convince him that he - and the snow - do have sparkles! In the second and third chapters, their friendship continues as they discover things that are different and the same about each other and learn more about their different abilities.
The pictures are cute and colorful; Yeti has a male pronoun at the end of the book but I didn't see one for Unicorn so I've decided he's a boy because I was annoyed that they defaulted to Yeti as male. Lots of sparkles, pastel colors, and little cartoon figures dot the pages. The book is laid out like a comic book, with different colored word balloons (Unicorn is orange and Yeti is purple) and a mixture of panels and full-page illustrations.
They are calling them early readers, but after due consideration I have decided to put them in with beginning chapter books. Physically, the books are smaller than a Branches book - about 7x5 inches - and 56 pages long. They include a drawing tutorial and an encouragement to tell your own story in the back. Most Branches books are a 400-500 lexile and these seem to be coming in at a 300-400. More generally, I've found that kids are being pushed to read younger but are falling behind and losing interest earlier. Having an easy series in with the beginning chapter books will attract both younger and older readers.
Verdict: With a unicorn and Scholastic's track record of success with Branches, there's no argument that this is a necessary purchase. The only decision is the best spot to put them and how many copies to purchase.
ISBN: 9781338329018; Published April 2019 by Scholastic; Borrowed from another library in my consortium