/ Cory Doctorow / 6 am Fri, Aug 7 2015
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  • The Princess and the Pony, from Kate "Hark a Vagrant" Beaton

    The Princess and the Pony, from Kate "Hark a Vagrant" Beaton

    It was a safe bet that Kate "Hark! A Vagrant! Beaton's first kids' picture book would be amazing, but The Princess and the Pony is incredible.

    Princess Pinecone is a the smallest warrior in a kingdom of warriors, and she lives for battle. But every year on her birthday, her parents give her a cuddly sweater. What she really wants is a mighty charger, from whose back she might smite other warriors.

    This year, Princess Pinecone put her foot down. She let it be known that nothing less than a huge, imposing horse would do.

    Unfortunately, what she got was a cuddly, funny-looking pony whose eyes point in opposite directions. It refuses to be trained for warhorse duties. She rides it into battle anyway. When Otto the Awful spies her on the sidelines and charges her, the pony just stands there, while Princess Pinecone digs for her spitballs. Then it happens: Otto the Awful screeches to a halt, unable to believe how TOTALLY CUTE the pony is.

    The mighty battle stops. The warriors crowd around the pony. They get in touch with their cuddly sides. So Princess Pinecone shares her supply of excess cuddly sweaters. And they all live happily ever after!

    Beaton is one of the sharpest, funniest comics creators in the business. Her witty, take-no-prisoners feminism is absolutely on display here, but she doesn't go for an easy girl-power resolution: instead, she lets everyone be both a badass and a sentimentalist.

    The spreads in this are amazing: the giant fight scene and the warriors in their sweaters? Perfection.

    It is the perfect, perfect book about girls, gender roles, and adorable ponies.

    I bought my copy at Los Angeles's outstanding Secret Headquarters, who also sold me one of Beaton's newly published Sketchbooks.

    The Princess and the Pony [Kate Beaton/Scholastic]

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    Notable Replies

    1. That pony is totally whack, with poo brain.

    2. I dearly love Hark A Vagrant, although I wish it got updated more often (but I understand that some people have shit to do other than to entertain me for free)

    3. Hmm, it seems like the princess is too small and weak to fight, but triumphs by being cute. I'm sure there's a part that challenges gender stereotypes, too.

    4. It'll be dormant for weeks and then "BLAM! Here's an update with FIFTEEN DIFFERENT COMICS see you next month."

    5. I have not read it myself, but the reviews I've read indicate that it's mostly about subverting power and being strong at things other than punching people in the face, not simply being a powerful asskicker herself. The horse is also the cute thing, not necessarily the Princess.

    Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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