This book was a DNF for me, years ago. This time I read the whole thing, but for the first half I felt pretty much same as before. Just so-so. Then it got better and one page near the end made me laugh out loud, which redeemed it all. There’s small storylines about holidays- deciding on Halloween costumes and throwing a party (which falls flat), and mundane everyday moments like wanting to stay in bed just because it’s warm and cozy, or running to get under shelter from the rain. I like the page where Phoebe and her dad are reading e-books, and the mom defends her preference for good old paper books, but then the unicorn tops that by proclaiming she prefers the dry crinkliness of unrolling a scroll. Marigold Heavenly Nostrils goes away to visit her sister at a unicorn spa, and Phoebe misses her. On her return, they delight in snow days together. Phoebe tells fibs about having finished her homework, and comes to regret it. She struggles dealing with test days at school again. There’s jokes about video games and smart phone functions. Summer comes and they go camping and visit the beach, where the unicorn points out how impractical Phoebe’s sand castle is, for defenses. Phoebe is jealous when her mother paints a portrait of the unicorn. Marigold tries to tell scary stories- at Halloween and later around the campfire- but the uincorn’s idea of what is frightening is just ridiculous. I love how the characters talk about the magic of reading and that this book, even though aimed at middle-grade readers, has plenty of long and somewhat sophisticated words (with a nice handy glossary in the back).
160 pages, 2017