Artist: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Review of Dana Simpson’s Razzle Dazzle Unicorn

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Phoebe. She spent a lot of time alone as she was a bit of a misfit. One day, the lonely girl was skipping rocks on a lake when she heard someone say “Ow!” She looked across the misty water to see whom she’d hit and beheld a being of Faerie – a unicorn. Thankfully, the unicorn wasn’t angry; in fact she was grateful to Phoebe for freeing her from being trapped by the beauty of her own reflection. Thus began the story of Phoebe’s fairy tale friendship with Marigold Heavenly Nostrils.

Cartoonist/author Dana Simpson continues to amuse and enchant with her fourth book in this series. “Razzle Dazzle Unicorn” starts with Phoebe and Marigold spending the holidays together. The best buddies discuss what they’re grateful for at Thanksgiving, Marigold finds a new rival in Phoebe’s Christmas tree, and Phoebe and Marigold ponder New Year’s resolutions. Phoebe’s frenemy Dakota is as mean as ever, but at least she’s still being plagued by a goblin. Phoebe has problems with school, piano lessons, and her ongoing social awkwardness. And Marigold once again accompanies Phoebe to summer camp, where Phoebe reunites with her quirky friend Sue, and Marigold finds a little romance with the lake monster.      

“Razzle Dazzle Unicorn” is taken from Dana Simpson’s nationally syndicated comic strip “Phoebe and Her Unicorn.” The previous books in the series are: “Phoebe and Her Unicorn,” “Unicorn on a Roll,” and “Unicorn vs. Goblins.” The “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” books are marketed to the middle grade reader demographic, but it really is written for people of all ages. While it is kid friendly, some of the humor and references are directed at adults. This book and the daily comic strip offer something for everyone, especially for those of us who love fairies.

The author writes the introduction this time, sharing how “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” came to be. She writes, “Sometimes a unicorn shows up in your life and makes everything better.” That’s exactly how Marigold changes Phoebe’s life as well. And we all get to come along on the adventure.

Verdict: Fairytastic! 5 out of 5 stars. Buy it, and the other books in the series. Dana Simpson has created a classic with her funny, sweet, clever, and unique comic strip. The daily “Phoebe and Her Unicorn comic strip appears in newspapers nationwide, and online at “Razzle Dazzle Unicorn” is published by Andrews McMeel Publishing as part of their AMP Comics for Kids books. It will be available in stores and online starting Sept. 20.   

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