The Princess and the Pony

Kate Beaton is probably best known for her webcomics -- she’s the creative mind behind the ultra-popular Hark! A Vagrant, a hysterical take on history, as well as several autobiographical comics about her experiences growing up in Nova Scotia. In The Princess and the Pony, her first picture book for early elementary readers, she brings her trademark charm, humor, and eye for setting to the table again, this time as we join the fearless Princess Pinecone on her quest to receive the perfect birthday present. This year, she doesn’t want yet another cutesy sweater -- she has her heart set on a fierce battle horse to ride during the hero’s competition! She knows she can take on the other fearsome warriors on once she has a trusty steed of her own.

When her pony shows up, though, it’s not quite what she was hoping for. It’s short and fat, its eyes point in different directions (sometimes), and it has an unfortunate tendency towards gassiness. There’s no way Princess Pinecone will be able to become the ultimate champion riding this pony into battle... is there?

Full to the brim with engaging drawings, silly humor and vocabulary, and strong messages (particularly those of friendship, acceptance, combating stereotypes, and the fact that everyone -- even round, flatulent ponies -- have something valuable to bring to the table), this a book that kids will want to read over and over again, and parents (especially if they’re fans of Beaton’s work themselves, in which case they might recognize the eponymous pony from her earlier comics), will be happy to indulge them.

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