By Dana Simpson
From the back cover
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 with 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.
Dana Simpson started this book as part of a newspaper comic strip. She kept her characters, Phoebe and her unicorn, Marigold, as part of her books. Children, especially girls, seem fascinated by the idea of a magical unicorn friend and the weird, yet confident, personality of Phoebe. The book seems to consist of short separate incident that end in a valuable lesson or harmless humour. The main character, Phoebe, learn about time, friendship, and the acceptance of one’s “different” personality.
In a gist…
Page 41: Phoebe talks about her friend “who is a boy but not my boyfriend”.
Page 159: Phoebe writes a text to her parents while she’s away at summer camp saying that she thinks her unicorn is in love.
Pages 174-175: Phoebe’s unicorn and the sea monster talk about love and the unicorn is illustrated to kiss the monster on what seems to be its nose.
- Phoebe’s summer camp friend talks about destroying things and setting things on fire. This is a quick reference however and isn’t entertained by Phoebe at all.
Mild language: stupid, butt, boogerbrain.
Phoebe’s mother is illustrated holding a cup of wine while stating that Phoebe underestimates (the joy of) wine.
Degradation of Family/Islamic Values
- Phoebe’s parents are very understanding and accepting of Phoebe’s “unique” personality and respect her imaginary unicorn.
- Thanksgiving and Christmas are mentioned as well as Christmas gift exchange.
The book focuses on self-acceptance, and confidence. It also touches on several aspects in a child’s life including bullying and how to deal with school problems. There’s an interesting bit on the understanding of time and how stressing over time can sometimes get in the way of achieving goals.
Dana Simpson’s unicorn book series seem to be attracting a lot of attention from children and parents alike. The subtle, yet unique humour makes the book appealing to all types of readers. The confidence that radiates from the protagonist, Phoebe, her unicorn, Marigold, as well as their summer camp friend, Sue, is plausible and serves as a great model to young readers. The overall message to young readers is about embracing and accepting themselves as unique beings that, may be different yet, special.