Unicorn Famous is the thirteenth book in the series, collecting the ongoing Phoebe and Her Unicorn comic strip by Dana Simpson.
I was surprised to see that it opens with a lengthy sequence about being able to be what you want when you grow up, even if that thing is a unicorn. Of course, they’re magical creatures, so maybe that makes sense, but to a human reader, it’s encouraging, reminding us that we have options and choices. It’s all handled with a remarkable lightness of touch, and within the four-panels-to-a-punchline structure, impressively.
The story then wanders into the question of unicorns being a trend among humans, and then humans being a trend among unicorns. These are some thought-provoking topics, and I like seeing them in what is sometimes considered a throw-away format. Of course, this is all lightened with silliness, as Marigold wears her “yay humans” t-shirt backwards, with her rear legs through the sleeves and her tail through the neck hole.
I never know what is coming next in this series, and the unpredictability makes it all the more enjoyable. Under it all, there’s a strong friendship between two very different creatures, and seeing them swap stories of their histories and cultures reminds me that we can always find similarities with others. Plus, we get to see Marigold go on a unicorn radio show, wearing headphones and hanging the microphone from her horn.
There are some touching moments, as when Phoebe says she doesn’t want to represent all humans, because it’s too much pressure. It comfortably turns into a compliment of how much Marigold respects Phoebe, even though she can be odd.
Dakota and her goblin minions return, and I was glad to see the two girls are more accepting of each other. I know you need conflict for stories, but I like seeing another version of different types of people getting along.
There’s nicely seasonal goofiness at a water park — and you need to see Marigold going down a water slide, as it’s another example of how wonderfully Simpson draws the strangest things — and some Halloween costume making to take us into fall.
I don’t know how to sum up these collections, as they range so far afield, but I enjoy reading them, even this far into the series, particularly since you can pick up any one and find something entertaining in it. (The publisher provided a review copy.)