Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power

by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated Brooke Allen
First sentence:”It was a gorgeous day.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s some mild adventure. It’s in the middle grade section (grades 3-5) of the bookstore.

The Lumberjanes are back! And when they find a mysterious mountain, of course they have to climb it. But what happens when they get stuck at the top?

I wanted to like this one, because I love the Lumberjanes. But. Something is missing in the translation from graphic novel to novel. The humor tried to be there, but fell flat (for me). All the characters were there, and I enjoyed interacting with them, but they were… off… which made me sad.

This one would be a good introduction to Lumberjanes, for those who don’t like graphic novels or haven’t read them yet. But, honestly? Get the graphic novels. They’re better.

Unicorn vs. Goblins

unicornvgoblinsby Dana Simpson
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Others in the series: Phoebe and her Unicorn, Unicorn on a Roll
Content: Simple, fun, colorful, and funny, these are perfect for kids in 3-5th grade. They are also perfect for anyone who likes a little silliness in their life.

I’m still finding this series seriously charming. In this one, Phoebe heads off to a summer music camp, meets Marigold’s sister (Florence Unfortunate Nostrils), makes new friends at school, and helps her frenemy fight goblins. It’s hilarious, sweet, adorable, funny, and OH so much fun.

I love handing this one to kids (it’s seriously funny, kids!) but I also love this one on its own merits. Marigold is hilarious, Phoebe is charming, and I adore her parents and friends. It’s really a modern-day Calvin and Hobbes, and for that I adore this series.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn

phoebeby Dana Simpson
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Others in the series: Unicorn on a Roll
Content: It’s super accessible to all ages, but I think it’s aimed at the 3rd-5th grade crowd. It’s in the Middle Grade Graphic Novel section of the bookstore.

I’ll freely admit I read these backwards, reading the sequel first. And, as a result, this one wasn’t as funny as I really wanted it to be. Still: it’s good to have Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostril’s origin story (Phoebe hit Marigold with a rock which broke Marigold’s attention — she was stuck looking at her reflection — and Marigold offered a wish in return). There were some hilarious little moments (like when Phoebe brought Marigold home to meet her parents), and I loved that the line between reality and imagination (called the SHIELD OF BORINGNESS) was blurred. Is Marigold imaginary? Is she real? Does it really matter?

At any rate, both K and I really enjoyed this one, even if it’s not quite as hilarious as the sequel.

Unicorn on a Roll

9781449470760by Dana Simpson
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There’s some difficult words for younger readers (and some concepts that will go over the heads of younger readers), but it’s really accessible at any age level. It’s in the middle grade graphic novel section at the bookstore.

I’ve seen this at the store for ages; I’ve even sold it to a couple of girls looking for a fun graphic novel. But it wasn’t until recently that I actually sat down to figure out what this was.

The basic premise is this: Phoebe, a girl, has a unicorn friend (whose name is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils — I KNOW, RIGHT?) who may or may not be real. (Sound familiar?)¬†And, after I got past the initial “huh, this isn’t a graphic novel, it’s more a collection of comic strips” I fell in love. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s SO hilarious. Maybe it’s because I’m an adult and get jokes about 80s and 90s music (“My mom said a woman named Alanis ruined irony forever.”) but really. It’s just impossible not to love Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. They are perfect.