Phoebe and Her Unicorn #9: Unicorn Bowling – Dana Simpson

Last time we saw them, Phoebe, Sue (Phoebe’s friend from camp), Max (Phoebe’s adorably nerdy friend) and their respective magical friends (Marigold, Ringo and Voltina) plus Marigold’s sister, Florence, were heading home from drama camp. I’ve loved the two graphic novels.

Now we’re back for another collection.

I learned that unicorn hiccups sparkle (of course they do!) and Marigold discovered the marvel that is bubble wrap. Phoebe’s father partook in some nostalgia and in the process made me feel really old because I remember those days too! Claustrophoebea and Pointyhead were back!

Phoebe doesn’t think she’s being assigned enough homework so Marigold provides some for her. Phoebe also nerds out about getting to make a diorama for school.

Phoebe and Marigold get somewhat serious when they discuss the meaning of life and Marigold regales Phoebe with multiple unicorn legends, some more recent than others. Dakota uses her vlog to bully Phoebe.

Marigold invites Phoebe to unicorn camp. Phoebe’s friend from camp, Sue, also attends but Ringo the lake monster is absent. While I was glad Max had a birthday party in this collection, I was sad his only guests appeared to be Phoebe and Marigold. Where was Voltina? She seems to only exist in the graphic novels. Also absent were the goblins who hang out with Dakota and some of Dakota’s personality.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity to read this collection.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A unicorn in bowling shoes is quite a STRIKE-ing sight. But for nine-year-old Phoebe Howell, it’s just another fun outing with her best friend, the illustrious unicorn Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. This unique and magical friendship is at the heart of the ninth Phoebe and Her Unicorn collection, which includes adventures such as writing original songs, publishing rival news websites, and making a summer visit to the exclusive Camp Shimmerhorn.

Life with a unicorn BFF is not without its challenges, however, and whether it’s homework, friction with classmates, or talent show jitters, Unicorn Bowling is full of amusing, heartwarming reminders that when the going gets tough, the tough get sparkling.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn #8: Phoebe and Her Unicorn in Unicorn Theater – Dana Simpson

Spoilers Ahead!

Voltina is back!!! I adored her when she was introduced in Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm because she’s a dragon and even more importantly, my favourite nerd, Max, finally had his very own friend/magical creature.

This is Phoebe and Marigold’s second graphic novel and this time they’re going to summer camp. I was glad they didn’t wind up at music camp again because that’s where they’ve always gone. This time they’re going to drama camp and Marigold’s sister, Florence Unfortunate Nostrils, is coming too. Interestingly, Florence’s nostrils aren’t as unfortunate as they have been previously.

Phoebe is initially jealous of the time the two unicorn sisters are spending together. Thankfully Sue and Max are also there, along with Ringo the lake monster and Voltina! Max is so adorably awkward and nerdy

and each time Sue says something weird I remember why I want her to star in her own graphic novel.

Unicorn transport is just as wonderful as I hoped it would be. With drama on and off the stage and some commentary about friendships and sisters, this is a lot of fun and a nice return to the graphic novel format. I’m crossing my fingers that Voltina makes her way into the collections as well as the graphic novels.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Summer is here, and Phoebe and Marigold are headed to drama camp. At Camp Thespis, Phoebe and her friends have their work cut out for them: writing, producing, and acting in an entirely original play! Phoebe’s expecting some quality time with her best friend, but in a surprise twist, Marigold has invited her sister, Florence Unfortunate Nostrils! The newest Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel is a sparkling tale of sisterhood and summer fun, as well as a reminder that sometimes it takes a bit of drama to rediscover true friendship.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn #7: Unicorn of Many Hats – Dana Simpson

After their first graphic novel adventure, Phoebe and Marigold are back for another collection of comics.

In this collection Phoebe and Marigold write fan letters and Marigold babysits Phoebe.

We learn that shimmering is better than glimmering. Marigold gets into a grooming competition with the cat and Max outnerds Phoebe.

We visit Marigold’s home for the first time. Phoebe and Marigold attend a dragon Halloween party where I learned I need rainbow-flame jack-o’-lanterns in my life. We meet Ralph, a kid in Phoebe’s class who isn’t Max or Dakota.

Dakota is still cool and rubbing Phoebe’s face in it and Marigold took a short break from admiring her own reflection to reflect on her friendship with Phoebe.

After absolutely adoring the graphic novel format, adventure and introduction of a wonderful new character, Voltina the dragon, in The Magic Storm, this collection of comics felt like a let down. Christmas, Halloween and summer seem to be covered in the majority of the collections I’ve read so far and a lot of the themes and jokes are repetitive. The actual target audience may not have a problem with this but I’m eager for material that feels new.

I was especially disappointed that Voltina didn’t make an appearance in this collection, which meant adorably nerdy Max is essentially alone again. Yes, he sort of has Phoebe sometimes but she’s not a good enough friend to even notice he’s being bullied when it’s happening right in front of her face. He deserves better.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity to read this collection.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Marigold Heavenly Nostrils is no ordinary unicorn. She has Wi-Fi-enabled appendages. She’s the most enchanted babysitter of all time. She’s published numerous scholarly articles on the “shimmering” versus “glimmering” debate. She is, in short, a unicorn of many hats.

Phoebe and her exceptional hooved pal are back in this all-new collection of comics! Laugh alongside the lovable duo as they question the idea of “coolness,” gain a deeper appreciation for the power of friendship, and put off summer reading assignments for as long as physically possible.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn #6: Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm – Dana Simpson

Before I tell you anything else you need to know there’s a DRAGON in this book!!! 💜💜💜 Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system I can continue.

Marigold’s magical sensitivity is telling her something’s not quite right. This is confirmed when a pixie’s GPS fails and Marigold can only find one bar of magical reception. Meanwhile at Phoebe’s elementary school, the teachers and kids alike are anticipating a half day due to a rumoured ice storm.

Later that day Marigold can’t even sparkle anymore when, horror of horrors, magic and the wifi go down!

This is a job for Phoebegold Detective Agency! Dakota isn’t so sure that Phoebe has enough nerd power to solve this case though.

Because Marigold no longer has magic her Shield of Boringness is down, making the people she walks past actually respond to her unicorn awesomeness for the first time in the series.

Although Max has been Phoebe’s second best friend for a while now (after Marigold, of course) I was so happy that he made a new friend in this graphic novel, one he shares more interests with. He’s consistently one of my favourite characters so it was lovely to have him more involved in the storyline. I loved the gentle, age appropriate way that bullying, loneliness and friendships were addressed in this story.

I can’t get enough of Phoebe and Marigold. Phoebe, who was once a lonely young girl, now has a magical creature that looks at her like this and it’s adorable.

I loved learning that goblins have their own version of a unicorn’s Shield of Boringness called a Bubble of Non-Grossness. Let’s face it, maybe I just love the blarting goblins.

I fell in love with Voltina the dragon and can’t wait to see how much she features in future adventures.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity to read this graphic novel. After not being quite as enthralled by the last two collections I read, my love for Phoebe, Marigold and the rest of Dana Simpson’s creations has been renewed with this graphic novel. I’m looking forward to bingeing the rest of the series.

P.S. Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The first Phoebe and Her Unicorn graphic novel!

Phoebe and Marigold decide to investigate a powerful storm that is wreaking havoc with the electricity in their town. The adults think it’s just winter weather, but Phoebe and Marigold soon discover that all is not what it seems to be, and that the storm may have a magical cause. To solve the case, they team up with Max, who is desperate for the electricity to return so he can play video games, and frenemy Dakota, who is aided by her goblin minions. Together, they must get to the bottom of the mystery and save the town from the magic storm.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn #5: Unicorn Crossing – Dana Simpson

Phoebe and Marigold carve pumpkins and Marigold plans a Halloween surprise for Phoebe. Todd the candy dragon provides the Halloween candy again this year and Dakota makes goblins cool when she starts hanging out with Blaartholomew. Marigold goes to the spa with her sister, resulting in unicorn withdrawal for Phoebe.

Naturally my favourite scenes were book related, especially when Marigold casts a Spell of Forgetting on herself so it feels like she’s reading a well read book for the first time. I need to learn how to do that spell! While I wasn’t a fan of the increased focus on nose picking I did enjoy the increased time spent talking about books.

This is the first collection where I’ve noticed a few pages repeated from previous collections. I wasn’t as wowed by this collection but am hopeful the next one, Phoebe and Marigold’s first graphic novel, will shake things up a bit.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Time flies in this fifth volume of Phoebe and Her Unicorn! Follow the lovable duo as they experience somewhat-spooky Halloween parties, ecstatic snow days, and looming summer reading assignments. Although the journey of growing up can sometimes be difficult, along the way Phoebe and Marigold discover something more enduring than goblin fads, unicorn spa vacations, and even a Spell of Forgetting – their one of a kind friendship. 

Phoebe and Her Unicorn #4: Razzle Dazzle Unicorn – Dana Simpson

Marigold’s name earned plenty of nerd points for me when I read Dana Simpson’s introduction to this collection. Dana explains she put her name into an online unicorn name generator and what popped out was … Marigold Heavenly Nostrils! Best story of the week!

After forcing myself to have a short break from this series I needed to know what was next for this girl and her unicorn (or perhaps that should be ‘this unicorn and her girl’).

Phoebe decides she doesn’t want to rule the world. Marigold learns that humans are better with a soundtrack. Todd the candy dragon, a goblin, Dakota and Max were back, but my new favourite superhero and villain were absent. Phoebe starts a journal. Marigold comes down with sparkle fever. Phoebe’s room disappears. Then Phoebe and Marigold return to music camp and get to hang out with Sue and Ringo, the lake monster.

Phoebe’s father solved the ‘hiding the Christmas presents’ dilemma.

Though this isn’t my favourite collection and some comics have become a tad repetitive I still really enjoyed this read. It already feels like I’m reading about old friends and I wish I had a kidlet to enjoy this series with.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Get ready to be bedazzled!

Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and Her Unicorn is back with more sparkles than ever! In this fourth volume, join in the adventure as Phoebe and Marigold confront messy rooms, trouble at school, and a nasty case of “Sparkle Fever.” Follow the pair back to Camp Wolfgang, where their old pals Sue (a.k.a. “Monster Girl”) and Ringo, the lake creature, remind them that being weird is WAY more fun than being normal.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn #3: Unicorn vs. Goblins – Dana Simpson

You know those days where you just want to comfort read? That was me today.

This is the third Phoebe and Her Unicorn book that has had me wondering why a random comic was placed in the middle of a storyline but because I was enjoying myself so much it didn’t really matter.

In this collection Phoebe goes to music camp where she meets her weird bunkmate, Sue, while Marigold meets the lake monster. Marigold gets a letter from her sister, who has a more ‘unfortunate’ middle name than Phoebe. Todd, the candy dragon, makes both an appearance and some ice cream – BLECH! Dakota has a staring contest with a goblin. Max proved why I knew I loved him

and we met a new potential friend, Sam.

While Phoebe and Marigold are brought to life with kids in mind, if I’m any indication then there’s definitely a lot for kids at heart to enjoy as well. I could easily keep bingeing these today but am going to attempt to restrain myself for two reasons:

  1. Because I acknowledge that somewhere in another dimension there could be people who don’t want to be Goodreads spammed with unicorn read after unicorn read. If those people do in fact exist, it’s probably unicorn intermission time.
  2. I don’t want to get to tomorrow and know that if I had just restrained myself a little bit then I’d have more new Phoebe and Marigold to look forward to. So, although I sort of feel like Marigold, here’s me restraining myself.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

School’s out! That means no more teachers, no more books, and lots of time to compliment Marigold Heavenly Nostrils on her good looks. In this third volume, Phoebe and her obligational best friend, Marigold, learn that summer still has plenty of surprises. Have fun with Phoebe and Marigold as they continue the “Pheobegold Detective Agency”, spend a week at Wolfgang Music Camp, and find themselves in odd misadventures, thanks to Marigold’s enchanted sparkles.

When school resumes, read along as Phoebe enjoys (or suffers from) a brief case of popularity, mentally catalogs her grievances against dodge ball and, with Marigold’s help, rescues Dakota and her hair from the queen of the goblins. Through these wacky adventures, Phoebe and Marigold learn that their friendship is the second most magical thing of all, after Marigold’s beauty, of course.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn #2: Unicorn on a Roll – Dana Simpson

Phoebe and Marigold are back, and are apparently my new graphic novel obsession. In this second collection they reflect on what life was like before they became best friends, discuss Boogergate, exchange Christmas presents, make New Year’s resolutions, practice for the school play, and even visit Marigold’s home! Oh, and you get to watch a unicorn roller skate!

I love watching Phoebe embracing her nerdiness.

I enjoyed the pop culture references, most of which would fly straight over the heads of any kids reading it. The Alanis/Irony quip was probably my favourite. Happily, my new favourite superhero and villain, Claustrophoebea and Pointyhead, also return!

It’s probably a nerd thing but I absolutely adored Phoebe’s dream sequence.

Dakota and Max return, as do Phoebe’s amazing parents, and even though this is only my second Phoebe and Her Unicorn read it feels like they’ve been my friends for a long time.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Been to school and paid my dues
Feel like I’ve gone and lost my clues
Unenthused and all confused
What have I really got to lose?

My unicorn’s my newest muse
She taught me now to lose my blues
From her I’ll chose to take my cues
And take a snooze without my shoes

What’s more magical than a unicorn on roller skates? Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostril’s friendship! They’re on a roll in this second adventure as they share their finest finery, their most secret secrets, and their most magical mysteries. 

Phoebe and Her Unicorn – Dana Simpson

🦄 Happy Unicorn Day! 🦄

When lonely fourth grader Phoebe rescues Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, who was trapped in the beauty of her own reflection, she is granted one wish. As the self appointed Federal Awesomeness Inspector, Phoebe declares herself the “most awesome girl in the world!”, which of course must be true because she wished to be best friends with a unicorn!

Together they play video games, have slumber parties in their pyjamas, play superhero and detective agency, gossip and enjoy music. Marigold gets trapped in her reflection more than once and I expect this will be a running joke throughout the series.

With our main characters fluent in sarcasm and dry humour, I found a lot to love. In this first graphic novel of the series we meet Phoebe’s parents, Dakota (Phoebe’s arch enemy, who calls her Princess Stupidbutt) and Max (Phoebe’s spelling partner). We’re also introduced to Todd, the candy dragon, who was my favourite minor character because … CANDY DRAGON!!!

Despite being so self absorbed, Marigold is capable of compassion and insight. I loved how literal she is and my stubbornness appreciated the stubbornness of both Marigold and Phoebe. Though they’re often not on the same wavelength these new friends get along surprisingly well.

I adore these new friends and feel like I’ve made two new ones myself. I’m especially looking forward to more superhero segments with Claustrophoebea and Pointyhead. I smiled a lot during this book and can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finally start this series. Thank you, Unicorn Day!

P.S. The magical picture of the unicorn reading is by Ivona Design.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Do you believe in unicorns? Phoebe does. She has no choice … one day she skipped a rock across a pond, and hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this resulted in a lasting friendship between Phoebe and the unicorn, one Marigold Heavenly Nostrils.

Come along for the unicorn ride with Phoebe, as she deals with the usual burdens of childhood (cruel classmates, gym class, piano lessons) and also some unusual ones (magic hair, candy-breathing dragons, and the legendary Shield of Boringness).

Can a precocious little girl and a self-absorbed mythical forest creature find common ground? Indeed they can, and that’s how Phoebe and Her Unicorn unfolds.

How to Catch a Unicorn – Adam Wallace

Illustrations – Andy Elkerton

🦄 Happy Unicorn Day! 🦄

This was everything I want in a unicorn book! It was a fun read and the illustrations were bright and colourful, with plenty of glitter and rainbows (plus the requisite reference to unicorn flatulence).

From ice cream traps to butterfly nets, a group of kids try their best to catch a wiley unicorn through the zoo’s exhibits but this unicorn has a host of animal friends ready to help it evade capture.

I smiled my way through this book and particularly loved Andy Elkerton’s illustrations. I enjoyed the various expressions on the kids’ faces when their attempts to catch the unicorn didn’t quite go to plan. My favourite near miss resulted in a couple of kids getting soaked by some penguins. I couldn’t choose a favourite animal because they’re all amazing; they’re full of joy and adorably cheeky as they foil the kids’ plan.

I really appreciated the creative substitution of the unicorn horn and star for the “i” in the book’s title. Oftentimes it’s the little extras that make a book memorable long term for me and it wouldn’t surprise me if that sparkly yellow “i” is one of the things that find its way into my spontaneous recommendation to some unsuspecting book store visitor weeks or months from now.

I’ve read this book three times (so far) and plan to read it every day until I have no choice but to return it to the library. I previously fell in love with How to Catch a Monster. Now it’s a given that I need to get my hands on the rest of Adam Wallace’s How to Catch series.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Try to catch one of the world’s most elusive mythical creatures – the unicorn! Filled with zany traps and lots of rainbow unicorn fun, this is the unicorn book of the year!

Can you catch the unicorn?

You’ll have to use your brain, 

So set your traps and prep your team

To pet that rainbow mane!