Title: Phoebe and her Unicorn (Heavenly Nostrils #1)
Author: Dana Simpson
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
Phoebe, a lonely, friendless child, meets a unicorn one day and befriends her. Together the two new friends set out on adventures, like leaf watching and having slumber parties, as they become best friends.
I received a copy of the second Heavenly Nostrils book from the publisher so I went and read the first book, this book, first. I enjoyed this. I think I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had read it bit by bit as an online comic rather than as a book, simply because reading each page you get a punchline and if you read it altogether it starts to kind of lose the kind of humor that it has. I still really enjoyed this though. The art was adorable, and the jokes were good.
The story follows Phoebe and her unicorn, Marigold, as they meet and become best friends. They begin to do everything together and Phoebe talks to everything that happens to her with Marigold. One particular recurring issue they deal with is Phoebe arch enemy, who she constantly bickers with and tries to compete with. I think all of this was really cute. A lot of people have called this the Calvin and Hobbes for young girls. I have never read Calvin and Hobbes but from what I know of it, this seems exactly like the right description.
I can definitely say that this is a great book for young girls either way because Phoebe and Marigold, the precocious pair, are fierce and great characters for young girls to look up to. Phoebe is funny and a little weird. I liked that despite being something of a loner she is still adamantly herself. Marigold is sort of rude but loving. Together they have a really great dynamic, making for fantastic comedy.
The art in this book is so cute. I love the style of the art, and the colour palette. I liked Marigold’s design in particular which is very…regal? She has a long tail and a very curved, graceful design – which suits her personality so well. I think the one issue with the art is the layout of the panels. The trouble is that this was originally a webcomic, and it didn’t always have a set 4 panels per page layout, so this, in the book, led to a lot of problems in the layout initially. Some panels were too big and the use of space with the panels was poor. By the end of the book this has become fixed because there was a more regular system of 4 panels so each page had the same layout and it was less confusing.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. I would recommend it. I don’t think I would, personally, go out of my way to read more of this, but would read it if given the option. Definitely give it a read if you’re a fan of middle grade graphic novels.