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Reviewed by:
  • The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
  • Deborah Stevenson
Beaton, Kate The Princess and the Pony; written and illus. by Kate Beaton. Levine/Scholastic, 2015 [34p]
ISBN 978-0-545-63708-4 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R 5-8 yrs

“Most warriors get fantastic birthday presents. … Princess Pinecone got a lot of cozy sweaters. Warriors do not need cozy sweaters.” This birthday, Pinecone has made it clear she wants a glorious warhorse, but what she gets is a weirdly shaped little pony (which “ate things it shouldn’t have, and farted too much”). When a great battle occurs, Pinecone hovers at the sidelines in hope that she and her pony will at least get a chance to participate. Instead, the warriors melt at her pony’s cuteness (“That is not how a battle usually goes,” Pinecone accurately notes), and when one sadly remarks that they “don’t often get to show our cuddly sides,” Pinecone shrewdly unloads her cozy sweaters on the group. This is the first foray into picture books for Beaton, author of the popular Hark! A Vagrant webcomic, and her signature wit is on display here. Once past the setup, the plot doesn’t always make a ton of sense, but the absurdity and gleefully irreverent tone compensate. The goofiness is matched by the art, wide-eyed digital cartoons that give Princess (biracial daughter of two warrior-looking parents) the vigor of mid-century animation. The life-transforming pony has a round face, bulging eyes, and dangling tongue that recall internet-famous cat Lil Bub, offering a comic contrast to the graceful wavy-maned steeds of Pinecone’s imagination. This is a princess book that could break gender boundaries, appealing to fans of Scieszka and other irreverent authors, and it will provide a stepping stone to early graphic novels, particularly Simpson’s Phoebe and Her Unicorn (BCCB 10/14). [End Page 8]



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