Monday, October 27, 2014

Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson

When fourth grader Phoebe skips a rock across a pond and hits a unicorn in the face, she breaks the spell of the unicorn being stuck staring at her reflection in the water. This unicorn is vain and sarcastic with enough compassion to make her interesting as a character. She introduces herself, "I am Marigold Heavenly Nostrils." Phoebe is a dork with self-deprecating humor and enough wits to match the unicorn whether intentional or not. When Marigold grants Phoebe a wish she asks for her to be her best friend. The two show they were lonely before meeting each other and they slowly strike up a friendship.

Phoebe and Marigold braid each others hair, have a slumber party, go trick-or-treating together, and basically do all the fun things friends do with each other. Phoebe is the weird girl in class that gets called names and picked on. Her friendship with Marigold helps her gain confidence. When Phoebe has to share Marigold with another girl she isn't too excited, but she learns to not be so insecure. Marigold is constantly touting her superiority to humans and Phoebe usually makes some jab back showing that Marigold really doesn't get it.

One of my favorite parts is when Phoebe talks about liking her spelling partner in class. She says, "I want Max to like me, and now he prolly thinks I'm weird." So you like him," states Marigold. "Yeah, he seems cool," says Phoebe. "Yes, but when I say 'like,' you know what I mean?" Marigold continues, "You want to use his shoelaces to make a nest!" Marigold's nose is up in the air and her eyes are closed as Phoebe taps her neck and says, "You really don't get humans, huh?"

I have an advanced reader's copy and not all of the cartoons were finished in it. There are pages that are separate from the narrative story that I didn't quite follow at first. I found it jarring at first and wondered if the published copy would have some type of color or ink that would offset or show that the pages were outside the narrative sequence. The entire book is in black and white and the only indication that they were separate was a slightly bigger layout. I didn't always catch it. Of course, I'm not an expert graphic novel reader so I could have been missing other visual clues. Don't miss this one. Embrace your inner unicorn.

4 Smileys

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