Phoebes, unicorns, and Phoebe’s unicorns

I may not have told you this, but Phoebe is a big fan of unicorns. I honestly can’t tell you when the obsession began. To the best of my knowledge, she has never actually met a unicorn.¹ However, like them she does.



Photos of Phoebe’s drawing of pegasus-unicorns, Phoebe in her unicorn snow hat with a snowball, and Phoebe playing the violin in a borrowed unicorn hat.

When we were planning her 6th birthday party, Phoebe had elaborate and entirely infeasible plans involving building a multi-level fort in her bedroom, complete with a pulley using ribbon to pull her party guests up to the upper levels. She also wanted to wear a unicorn costume, and had ideas about how I could make one for her. For the weeks (possibly even months) leading up to her birthday, the topic of her party came up frequently. Over and over, I managed to put off committing to a definite plan. Eventually, we broke it to Phoebe that we couldn’t do her unicorn-costumed fantasy birthday party.

However I did manage to make some unicorn cupcakes to ease her pain. Rainbow unicorn cupcakes.
rainbow unicorn cupcakes

But now we’ve got something even better. There is a new cartoon out there about a little girl named Phoebe. And a unicorn:

Here’s the description from Go Comics, where the cartoon is syndicated:

It all started when Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this led to Phoebe being granted one wish, and using it to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. But can a vain mythical beast and a nine-year-old daydreamer really forge a connection?

The cartoon is by Dana Simpson, and called Heavenly Nostrils,² and you should check it out. Right. Now. (Start with the full-color first day strip from Sunday. I’ll wait.)

Is it just me, or does this Phoebe look a little like our Phoebe? All the cartoon Phoebe is missing are real Phoebe’s giant blue cartoon eyes.

John has long been a fan of Simpson’s work, especially the long-running strip Ozy and Millie, and he used to periodically send me links to those. (Like this one.) And now I’m at risk of being a crazy fangirl myself.

I find Simpson’s artwork to be charming and the premise of Heavenly Nostrils engaging. It may not shock you to learn that I was once a nine-year-old daydreamer, myself. (In fact, I was once a 6-year-old daydreamer.³) To top it all off, I think Dana Simpson is super cool. I emailed her to ask to use some images, and she not only wrote back to give permission, but was über nice.

I’m thinking that if John and I had played our cards right, we could have pretended that the whole cartoon strip was a present from us: “Phoebe, we know how much you like unicorns, and so we arranged for this comic strip about a little girl named Phoebe and her unicorn best friend to be made for you. Happy birthday.” The main trouble with this, though, is that we’d have trouble matching this level of gift in future years. She might expect us to have a movie made, or have a museum wing named after her. Better just to give her some new socks and a roll of scotch tape, and then she will have beautifully low expectations.⁴

¹ When Phoebe was 3, she was obsessed with fires, firefighters and firetrucks. However, she had seen real firetrucks, met real firefighters, and even seen the effect of a real fire on a real burned-out building. How could a girl resist? But apparently little girls like unicorns, too.
² The title has apparently generated some criticism as being “too silly.” As if there could be such a thing.
³ I was also once a 39-year-old daydreamer.
⁴ Though she really does love to use tape.

Image credits: Heavenly Nostrils artwork by Dana Simpson from Ink & White Space, used with permission from Dana herself, because she is that cool. Pegasus-unicorns flying among clouds and rainbow artwork by Phoebe Lenore, used without her permission because it’s 10 at night and she’s in bed right now. The rainbow unicorn cupcake photo is mine, all mine. And the two of Phoebe in unicorn hats. But neither of the hats is mine.