Monday, October 24, 2022

Today's read... Unicornado by Dana Simpson

 This week, I'm concentrating on all sorts of Halloween reads. Now, this read may not look very Halloween-y, but it just came out a few days ago and holds more it first appears. While it isn't only about the upcoming holiday (there are many funny scenes involved), there are several adventures in the middle, which definitely swing around the season and give ghosts and spooks a whole new name. 

Ready for a surprise?

Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure
by Dana Simpson
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Middle Grade Fantasy / Graphic Novel
176 pages
ages 9 to 12

Get ready to experience a whole new thrilling sequence of adventure and discovery in the delightful, New York Times bestselling Phoebe and Her Unicorn series by Dana Simpson.

A new school year means many things for nine-year-old Phoebe Howell and her unicorn best friend, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. They prepare for a school dance (lame!), meet new friends (ghosts and gnomes and goblins, OH MY!), and even experience a rare supernatural phenomenon called a Unicornado! In fact, sometimes things get almost too magical. Marigold’s presence attracts pixies, talking birds, and a sphinx, turning Phoebe’s house into a magical sylvan glen. And Marigold even briefly transforms Phoebe into a goblin. Whether they’re trick-or-treating, singing showtunes, or casting new spells, every day for Phoebe and Marigold is an adventure thanks to the power of friendship.



This is the...oh well, I have no idea what book number this is in the series because there have been more than a few released. In any case, this is my first time visiting Phoebe and her unicorn, and it was quite the treat.

Phoebe is nine years old and has an unicorn for a best friend. While they've been friends for awhile in this edition, that doesn't mean that things are boring. The unicorn has quite the attitude and, yet, is very sweet. Just a unicorn of its own. Phoebe loves her unicorn with all of her heart but does call the creature out, when things get too ridiculous. Plus, it's hard to say what will pop up next when the land of magic is involved.

Normally, I'm not a huge unicorn fan, so I went into this a little skeptical, but with all of the silliness, that was soon long forgotten. This unicorn may have magic and sparkle (the secret to this is released in these pages, btw), but it has quite the healthy self-esteem and humor. Some of the situations might go above the intended age group's heads (so there are some jokes for older readers), but most will make everyone smile. So, it adds enough range to keep a slightly wider group entertained. 

I also was thrilled to see that this doesn't leave reading skills behind. While it's a graphic novel, the author makes sure to stretch the vocabulary. There's even a glossary at the end to help with those more difficult terms. Of course, that's only a sideline benefit as humor is key on every single page. So kudos on this end!

The illustrations are bright and bring across the scenes well. The unicorn is well cast and has antics and poses, which are smile worthy on their own. The balance between text and illustrations is well played, letting each end take over its fair share. I enjoyed seeing the emotions and characters sparkle (not just the unicorn in a literal sense) and shine. I've become a fan and can only hope there are many more of these to come.

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