This book was brought to my attention the other day. Since I have a fair amount of experience with unicorns (and loving them), I was intrigued. Also, the unicorn’s name is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. NOSTRILS. Yes. So, you see why I had to read it.
One of the things I do as an adult now that I NEVER did as a kid or a teenager is read things like author bios, forewords, footnotes, endnotes, whatever. It’s like all the special features that come with DVDs except in BOOKS (I almost never bother with special features). The introduction to the first volume in this series (there are 3 books right now) is written by Peter S. Beagle – you know, the guy who wrote “The Last Unicorn.” And he loves it.
Here’s what he says:
“I would dearly love to claim at least some connection to the origins of Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, the innocently arrogant unicorn who preens so charmingly through Dana Simpson’s delightful comic strip bearing her name. And perhaps I can. Scholarly articles have been written, after all, about the fact that prior to my 1968 novel The Last Unicorn there were no female unicorns to be found in any of the world’s varied mythologies. And in the early pages of that book I did write, ‘Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live alone in one place: usually a forest where there is a pool clear enough for them to see themselves – for they are a little vain, knowing themselves to be the most beautiful creatures in all the world, and magic besides…’
“A little vain…Marigold would be an appalling monster of ego, utterly self-concerned and completely unlikable, if it weren’t for her sense of humor and her occasional surprising capacity for compassion – both crucial attributes when bound by a wish granted to a nine-year-old girl in need of a Best Friend to play invented superhero games with, to introduce to slumber parties and girl-talk gossip and to ride through the wind after being called nerd and Princess Stupidbutt one time too many. For Phoebe is a remarkably real little girl, as bright and imaginative as Bill Watterson’s Calvin, as touchingly vulnerable as Charles Schulz’s Charlie Brown. And if these strike you as big names to conjure with, I’ll go further and state for the record that in my opinion Phoebe and Her Unicorn is nothing less than the best comic strip to come along since Calvin and Hobbes. Simpson is that good, and that original…”
And you should read the rest of this for yourself. And the whole book. Because it’s high praise to compare it to Calvin and Hobbes and you know you want to find out if that’s true.