Mini-reviews

So this week I went through a few books and decided that they didn’t warrant a full post each, so we’re going to cover them all here. Well “below” here. I cover Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, Everything Explained Through Flowcharts by Doogie Horner, and The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LaVar Burton.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn : A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson

Children’s graphic novels

Comic strip collected edition about a younger girl with a unicorn as a friend, (Marigold Heavenly Nostrils is the Unicorn). Phoebe is the precocious lonely grade school child, very much in the vein of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. Marigold is unlike Hobbes in that she is real, and interacts with other children and Phoebe’s parents, but is protected by her “shield of boringness”. They meet when Phoebe is skipping rocks and saves Marigold from her own vanity, in return Marigold grants a wish, which Phoebe uses to make them best friends. They hang out, learn about each other, plan sleep overs, Halloween and birthday parties. Great fun, highly recommended for younger kids, maybe as a companion to Calvin and Hobbes.

Everything Explained Through Flowcharts by Doogie Horner.

Non-fiction, humor

So most things. Almost everything is more accurate. For examples Doogie covers:

  • How to reach the afterlife in major religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism(the flowchart is a circle), secular, Klingon, Chinese Folk, and Ancient Egyptian)
  • What pretensions name to choose for your designer paint
  • What kind of doomsday scenario is happening (little info about what to do in the various situations)
  • How to determine if you are the evil or good twin
  • What you should name your heavy metal band
  • How to win an argument (not very persuasive)
  • Mapping salad dressings
  • Ranking a bracketed rumble of U.S. Presidents
  • How to conduct Zeppelin warfare

Overall a quick and somewhat interesting read. Some charts are pretty funny, some not so much. The table of contents in flowchart form was initially confusing, but afterwards made much more sense.

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton & Susan Schaefer, illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher

Children’s Picture Book.

A story within a story about Mica Mouse who is afraid of storms (a previous year they lost their home to a hurricane). To assuage her fear her father tells her a story about the titular rhino who’s home is also lost in a storm. Through trials and tribulations the young rhino finds that we a little help from his friends and family that he can get through anything. A good lesson about getting help in hard times.

The art is really nice, there is a simple CG for the Mouse family house, and a distinct cell-shaded/paper cutout look for the Rhino storybook. At the end there are also discussion questions to get kids thinking about the themes of the book. I was reading it and realized that the format is not unlike an episode of Reading Rainbow, with Papa Mouse voicing(voiced by?) Mr. Burton.

A little deeper and harder then most children’s books, but it might be welcome after a hard time, and to help them understand that asking for help or support is okay.


Next up is Showa: A History of Japan 1926-1939 a graphic novel history of Imperial Japan leading up to the Second World War, Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities, and/or Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chef’s favourite restaurants: Chef Selection and reviews.

Also listening to The Sixth Extinction audiobook in my car.

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