The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

princess pony kate beatonRating: ★★☆☆☆

A farting pony, a racially and culturally diverse cast, a mixed race main character as a young princess with a desire to be a champion warrior only for her birthday, instead of a warhorse, she receives an adorable little pony. Sounds good so far.

Despite the positive female ‘girl power’ role model whose parents represent mine exactly with a black mother and white father, the cute illustrations (including a veiled warrior woman), the story didn’t sit right with me. Yes, the fierce warriors being able to show their soft, cuddly sides at the appearance of the micro pony was nice and all, it just wasn’t heartwarming or logical. Pinecone realising her puny pony had value when the warriors paid more attention to the supposedly adorable four-legged creature than her was a little sad.

Generally speaking, picture books don’t usually confuse me. The time and place The Princess and the Pony is set is vague. Pinecone is holding a Viking helmet aloft on the first pages, followed by warriors of different times and places including a strongwoman (as opposed to a strongman), a falconer-ess from the Mongolian Eurasian Steppe and a one-eyed Robin Hood. Pinecone’s home looks to be some kind of castle with wood beams and animal heads mounted on the walls. Then, at the champion competition, the warriors are in ancient garb while the spectators watching this mass brawl are all in modern clothing clutching foam fingers and popcorn. So this was a Rennaissance fayre and Pinecone isn’t really a princess and her parents are in permanent fancy dress? Confused.

As for the brawl the spectators are watching, it was obviously too dangerous and rambunctious for Pinecone to join in with her … spitballs. Yes, you read that right, spitballs. In a fight with adults.

I appreciated the diversity, the feminist edge and the illustrations.

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