Friday, November 30, 2018

Review - Phoebe and Her Unicorn

Phoebe and Her Unicorn (Heavenly Nostrils #1)
by Dana Simpson
Date: 2014
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
Reading level: MG
Book type: comic collection
Pages: 224
Format: e-book
Source: library

A boy and his dog... a girl and her... unicorn? It all started when Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this led to Phoebe being granted one wish, and she used it to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. But can a vain mythical beast and a nine-year-old daydreamer really forge a connection? Indeed they can, and that's how "Phoebe and Her Unicorn" unfolds. This beautifully drawn strip follows the unlikely friendship between a somewhat awkward girl and the unicorn who gradually shows her just how special she really is. Through hilarious adventures where Phoebe gets to bask in Marigold's "awesomeness," the friends also come to acknowledge that they had been lonely before they met and truly appreciate the bond they now share.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I may have found a favourite comic. I loved reading about the adventures of Phoebe and Marigold!

At first, I thought this was a graphic novel, but even though there are a few continuous stories within the book, there's no overarching plot. So, really, it's a comic collection. But that didn't prevent me from enjoying the little stories that were included, such as the friends' slumber party, their detective agency, Phoebe's nemesis and her birthday party, the piano lessons, meeting the parents, Phoebe's new spelling partner, and more.

There's something kind of deep and profound to some of these comics, and the whole thing reminded me a bit of Calvin and Hobbes... except in this case it's a little girl and her unicorn. The book is marketed to middle graders (which becomes evident at the end where there are directions on making slumber-party snack mixes and Marigold puppets), but I have a feeling quite a few of the panels would go over kids' heads. There are plenty of references that only adults would get. (That said, there's absolutely nothing in here that would be inappropriate for children, so if kids want to read it, there's no reason why they shouldn't.)

The filler at the end I could've done without, although I did like the pages explaining how to draw Marigold and Phoebe. I'm always amazed at how artists can make it look so simple; I have a feeling that, if I tried to draw Marigold, she'd end up looking like a giraffe with rickets.

The library has more of the Heavenly Nostrils books, so I'm definitely going to be checking those out in the future. I want to see Phoebe and Marigold's relationship grow, and I'm also curious about some of the other characters that were introduced. Will Dakota remain a thorn in Phoebe's side? Will Max end up being a friend as well as a spelling partner? Will Phoebe ever practice the piano and satisfy her piano teacher? I guess I'll have to keep reading to find out!

Quotable moment:

Writing & Editing: 4/5
Illustration: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 ladybugs

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