The Princess and the Pony
Having actually read The Princess and the Pony, though, I can tell you that it’s cute, thought-provoking, and overturns expectations, all the qualities that make Beaton’s comics so entertaining. As in her history strips, she takes a familiar-ish setting and puts a distinctly modern spin on it. Although aimed at 4-8-year-olds, it’s got enough in it that the adult reading the book to the kid will also find interesting elements (particularly in the backgrounds of the large scenes).
Princess Pinecone comes from a family of warriors, and she wants a big, strong horse for her birthday. Instead, she gets a fat little pony. She tries to train it, but it falls down and farts a lot. (The page with the pony having fallen down, just as happy to be upside down as it is to be standing on its feet, is adorable.)
Beaton goes bonkers creating all the various warriors in her fantasy kingdom, with a ton of expressions and types and caricatures. It’s great to see such diverse, imaginative portrayals. Plus, the idea of Pinecone wanting to be fierce, as is her birthright, and nothing being wrong with that is inspiring.
I’m not going to spoil the ending, but I thought it was a terrific, unexpected change up. The message that victory can come in unexpected ways is a good one, particularly for this modern world. I’d love to hear how actual kids take to it. (The publisher provided a review copy.)