Unicorn Bowling is the ninth in the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series. (I’m behind; there have been two more books out since this one: The Unicorn Whisperer and Camping with Unicorns.) Most collect the comic strips; a couple are original, longer stories, but this isn’t one of them. That means this book is 170 or so pages of everyday witticisms, with a continuing theme following through at most four or five strips. It’s welcome light entertainment, particularly given how fresh and funny many of author Dana Simpson’s ideas are. She has a clever take on the world with an underlying appreciation for reading and learning and friendship.
Here are several comic ideas from the book that tickled me:
- Unicorns sparkle when they hiccup.
- Phoebe trying to use Marigold’s magic as shortcuts, with ridiculous side effects preventing her from doing so. The one about “motivation spells” making your hands shake sounded particularly realistic to me.
- Dad reminiscing about life before cellphones and the internet but secretly being jealous of Phoebe’s childhood.
- A unicorn playing video games by manipulating the joystick with her teeth, which makes it difficult to chat while doing so.
- The annoyance of being insulted on the internet.
- Phoebe is cool with being a nerd because it’s neat to learn things.
- Unicorn summer camp is just like human camp, except they eat hay and alfalfa.
- (To me, her teacher looks kind of like David Tennant.)
It’s all about how friendship makes the world bigger, in terms of imagination and helping each other find wonder, and smaller, in terms of surviving the annoying bits and helping each other through insecurity and stress. Most importantly, every so often, there are real bits of wisdom.