Nine-year-old Phoebe Howell skipped a stone across some water and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. This led to her and the magical creature becoming best friends and now Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostrils are constantly together at school, at home and out and about in the world. You might expect keeping a unicorn from causing uproars wherever she appears would be difficult, but Marigold’s enchanted Shield of Boringness is a handy way to prevent anyone from noticing her unless she wants them to. In this third collection of Dana Simpson’s daily newspaper strip, it’s summertime. School is out, which means more time to hang out, explore some new places and get into new kinds of trouble.

This time around we get to meet Marigold’s less attractive sister, Florence Unfortunate Nostrils. She just happens to also have a connection with Marigold’s no-longer-secret crush, the most fabulous of all unicorns, Lord Splendid Humility. There are encounters with a few more mythical creatures including a dragon who can produce any quantity of ice cream and candy at will (although not in the most appealing way), a lake-dwelling monster who likes tacos, and then there are the goblins who feature on the cover of this volume. They don’t appear until late in this book, and they turn out to be the reason Phoebe’s friend/not-friend Dakota hasn’t been seen for a while.

The mildness of the humour and the competent but unspectacular drawing makes these strips repetitive for adult readers, but the series is perfectly pitched for the middle-grade girls Phoebe and Her Unicorn is designed for. There is more exploration of the magical qualities of friendship to come in book four, Razzle Dazzle Unicorn. Alternatively both are combined as The Spellbing Episodes of Phoebe and her Unicorn.