In which I review a cool thing that's pink and sparkling and book-shaped

It's easy enough to see why I didn't pick up this book when it first crossed my desk.


Please understand that anywhere between 20 and 100 books cross my desk each week.

Most are teen books, some are classics, and the rest are tossed there by mistake (this happens frequently, as my desk is in a high-traffic area and has a high-gravity field that attracts random stuff and doesn't repel anything ever).

So, yeah, I probably "saw" this come through as a brand new book in 2014.  But I didn't look at it.  

Because pink.

In the world of children's books, there are gazillions of series books published by companies who don't give an overweight rodent rear end about things like story line, character development, and plot.  They are not "authored" so much as they are a knockoff bootleg "Barbie" DVD.  

The big selling point for many of these books?  They are pink.

This particular series of books read like sugar-coated sugar cubes,
drenched in honey with a gooey molasses center 
and sprinkled with pink candy hearts.  Blech.

(The joke at the library is that when we check in a stack of the fairy books, we have to invent our own fairy book title.  So far my favorite made-up titles are Glenda the Gonorrhea Fairy  and Crystal the Methamphetamine Fairy)

So, yeah, no.  I didn't even open the cover and read the first page of Phoebe and Her Unicorn back in 2014.

It took a rather shamefaced recommendation from Becky on the book-recommending Facebook page to get me to open the front cover.

And once I read the first page, I read the first book.  And now, I am hooked.  But...why?

They make me laugh

Phoebe is often compared to the cartoon character Calvin which puts Marigold Heavenly Nostrils in the companion seat next to Hobbes.  That's a good start: Phoebe is 9 years old, and her best friend is a unicorn.  They have imaginative adventures, they get into trouble sometimes.  But there's more.

Unlike Calvin, Phoebe isn't a reprobate.  She's a self-affirmed weirdo:  she doesn't always fit in with the other kids, and she's actually okay with that.  She has a science-loving friend-who-is-a-boy-but-not-a-boyfriend.  She has a frenemy-who-is-sometimes-a-friend at school.  She has nerdy parents who gradually accept that their daughter's bestie is a unicorn. 

In other words, Phoebe is a girl, like so many girls we know--and like so many girls that we are, still, even though we are nominally adults now.  Because, although this book is appropriate for young readers, it's not just for kids.

By far, the best part of the comic is the relationship between Phoebe and Marigold.  It's the kind of relationship that some of us have with our friends, and also the kind that some of us have with our horses.  

(Marigold and the Dragon have a lot in common!)

I checked all these books out from the library,
but I intend to buy the series soon. I love them that much.

And, just like the old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon book, once you've read an entire Phoebe and Unicorn book, it's perfectly enjoyable to pick it up and read bits and pieces of it again.  

Especially in winter.

Don't be embarrassed.  Read the pink book.  

Laugh out loud at Phoebe and Marigold, share the images with your friends and your family.  

Seek out the rest of the series and laugh some more.

You can tell 'em Haiku Farm sez it's okay.  

Especially in winter!


  1. Oh thanks for this! I'm going to stick them on my list for when my blossoming new reader is a little bit older!

  2. Not only do Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostrils remind me of Aarene's and Fiddle, so does Danai and Lucy in Non Sequitur.

    - Dave Beidle


Post a Comment

To err is human. To be anonymous is not.

Popular posts from this blog

In which we start the year with something old, something new, and something blue

In which the ears are the keys to good communication with horses

In which the Solstice is here at last, and the sun begins to return