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The Princess and the Pony

by Kate Beaton

Publishers Weekly Beaton, whose "Hark, a Vagrant!" webcomic has won her a devoted audience, makes her picture-book debut with a story starring Pinecone, a Viking princess, and the dumpy, walleyed pony sometimes seen in her comics. The pony functions as a (very) blank canvas onto which other characters project their expectations; here, it's what Pinecone's parents give her when she asks for a "real warrior's horse" for her birthday. She's appalled, "but you can't say no to a birthday present, so she took the little pony to her room, where it ate things it shouldn't have, and farted too much." When it's time for the great battle, Princess Pinecone fears the pony will humiliate her. Instead, it melts the heart of Otto the Awful, the meanest warrior of all. "Awww, what a cute little pony!" he murmurs. Beaton champions a bouquet of affirming themes: strong girls, acceptance of difference, and battling with nothing more violent than dodgeballs, spitballs, and other related objects. It's a smart, brisk story that tosses aside conventional ideas of what princesses (and ponies) are "supposed" to be. Ages 4-8. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (June) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Princess Pinecone may be the smallest warrior, but that doesn't stop her from wanting to be a champion! Her birthday is approaching, and this year she wants a horse perfect for riding into the upcoming battle. What she gets instead of a stately steed, however, is a short, fat, cross-eyed pony that farts too much. Pinecone tries to train the daffy little thing in time for the great battle, but it doesn't go well check out the fat pony cheerily on his back while a majestic knight fist-bumps his stallion in the background. But Pinecone perseveres, and despite her pony's shortcomings, they join in the great battle anyway. When they leap (or, rather, toddle) into the fray, Pinecone gets ready to be a fearsome fighter only to discover that her dopey ride melts even the fiercest warriors' hearts. Beaton's offbeat, colorful cartoon style makes great use of expressive brows, exaggerated figures, and huge eyeballs for maximum cuteness, and she stuffs each spread with hilarious details. Little ones will surely empathize with Pinecone's aspirations to be big and powerful, but it's Beaton's expert comedic timing that will rein them in for the long haul. The perfect combination of heartwarming and hilarious.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-Rambunctious Princess Pinecone is the smallest warrior in her kingdom, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in enthusiasm. Tired of receiving novelty sweaters for her birthday, Pinecone asks her parents for a big, strong battle horse-and receives a chubby little pony with a vacant expression, and incurable flatulence, instead. Though he doesn't fit the standard requirements of the typical trusty steed-"It's too small! It's too round! And I think its eyes are looking in different directions...(This was true, but only sometimes.)"-the little pony proves to be a surprising asset on the day of her great battle. Chunky, colorful digital illustrations provide plenty of detail to keep readers entertained; older children will enjoy exploring all of the different posters marking Pinecone's walls, or some of the sillier warriors in the battle fray, including one sneakily eating a hot dog. The text contains a healthy dose of alliteration and buzzwords that will boost vocabulary ("Pinecone was flabbergasted, flummoxed, floored!") while making for a fun read-aloud. VERDICT A highly recommended, charmingly illustrated tale of teamwork and tenderness.-Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.