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The Princess and the Pony

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Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn't quite get the horse of her dreams...

From the artist behind the comic phenomenon Hark! A Vagrant, The Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of brave warriors, big surprises, and falling in love with one unforgettable little pony.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published May 6, 2015

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About the author

Kate Beaton

22 books1,445 followers
Kate Beaton was born in Nova Scotia, took a history degree in New Brunswick, paid it off in Alberta, worked in a museum in British Columbia, then came to Ontario for a while to draw pictures, then Halifax, and then New York, and then back to Toronto.

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5 stars
2,471 (47%)
4 stars
1,747 (33%)
3 stars
740 (14%)
2 stars
159 (3%)
1 star
59 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 968 reviews
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,065 reviews1,905 followers
November 23, 2015
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.


So, a cutie little princess named Pinecone who is just very adorable, lives in a world full of warriors. She wants to be a fierce warrior, too! But she is just a little cuddle-muffin.

She asks for a strong war horse for her birthday, but instead she receives an obese little pony who is stupid. Needless to say she is not happy.

In the end, the warriors are completely smitten with the cute pony, and they all start doing things like wearing cozy sweaters and having snuggles.


- The pony's farting is a thing. I do not enjoy fart jokes. Children might, but I'm just not a fan.

- I'm not really sure what message is being sent here.

You can't be a warrior because you're female? Obviously not. There are many female warriors in the book.

You can't be a warrior because you're a child? Maybe. Although Pinecone is not barred from the brawls and seems to be treated just like everyone else. Is she a child? Perhaps she's just an extremely short adult.

What's the message? Cute things can't fight and should wear fluffy sweaters and be cuddled? I don't know.


- The illustrations are wonderful, especially the battle scene. The battle scene is very intricate and there is so much to look at and take in. The illustrations are fun and enjoyable and attractive.

- The book is full of cuteness. If you like cuteness, there's plenty of cuteness.

Tl;dr - Meh. I expected a little bit more out of this book with all the hype it's been getting.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,071 reviews31.3k followers
April 28, 2019
Both kids loved this book. They thought it was funny. The niece gave it 4 stars and the nephew grew some independence and gave it 5 stars. Good for him.

Princess Pinecone is a warrior and she is tired of being cute. She wants to be taken seriously. For her birthday she asks for a war house and ends up with the fattest pony you ever saw. The hilarity starts from here. She goes to fight with the toughest warriors in the land. I love how she wins the tournament. The kids really did enjoy this little book. It was humorous.
Profile Image for Fiona.
319 reviews343 followers
January 14, 2016
Don't laugh.

I was given this by my partner, because Kate Beaton is my hero, and because when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him, "I want a pony." This is why I keep him around.

Princess Pinecone is a hero for the ages, and this is exactly the sort of book I will read to my long-hence-hypothetical children. Honestly, it's probably exactly the sort of book my parents would have gleefully read to me when I was small - whimsical, egalitarian, full of adventures, and containing a valiant little pony whose eyes face in different directions. (But only sometimes.) Is anyone ever the wrong age for such things? Surely not.

I gather my actual pony is still in the post.

Profile Image for Demi.
195 reviews18 followers
July 22, 2015
There is SO MUCH to like about Beaton's debut children's book! Yes, the pony farts--but farting is not the punchline, and neither is Princess Pinecone. Diverse cast of characters! Fat Shetland pony! All sorts of Vikings with all kinds of gender expressions! Cuddly sweaters! A ruckus!

I want to give this book a million five star reviews.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,488 followers
November 29, 2017
A parent friend wondered about children's books with badass girl role models and I was like "PRINCESS AND PONY OMG" and she was like *cock an eyebrow* maybe something without princesses? and I was like IT'S NOT THAT KIND OF PRINCESS

It's not that kind of princess.
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,257 reviews1,132 followers
August 28, 2015
The Princess and the Pony is a picture book; a fun tale for tiny tots with a mischievous sense of humour. The story is about a petite and pugnacious poppet, Princess Pinecone, who lives in a kingdom of vaguely Viking warriors. All her friends get great warrior presents such as, "shields, amulets, helmets with horns on. Things to win battles with". So Princess Pinecone desperately wants that sort of birthday present too.

Instead though, she's always given cosy sweaters. This time she makes sure that everyone knows what she really wants for her birthday: a big, strong, fast, perfect warrior's horse. And everyone listens, and everybody does their best.

They get her a horse of sorts, but it's too small - and definitely too fat. It's a roly-poly pony, round as a barrel. It's rather odd-looking in fact, and has an unfortunate and embarrassing problem when it gets too excited.

Princess Pinecone is determined to make her pony into warrior material, training it up for the great battle. And when the day arrives, both she and her diminutive pony proudly stand up against "Otto the Awful, the meanest warrior of all".

What happens next surprises them all, and Princess Pinecone is "flabbergasted, flummoxed, floored". Everyone ends up happy, and having their own fluffy sweaters in this heart-warming story of cuddles, cuteness, friendship and ... (shall I whisper it? Or give you a clue? The author Jack Vance memorably said, "Nothing is more conspicuous than a farting princess." But a pony with this problem doesn't easily escape attention either.)

The Princess and the Pony was written and illustrated in 2015 by Kate Beaton, the Canadian artist behind the popular web comic "Hark! A Vagrant", which topped the New York Times bestseller list in 2011. Kate Beaton's drawing style is similar to manga, with flat use of colour and occasional pattern. Her work has a comic feel with simplified characters and expressions. And you can forget any stereotyping. Black princesses have been rare in picture-book princesses up to now, so this princess and her heroic friends are a welcome development in the field.

Little children who squeal with delight at anything rude, love toilet humour and comics, may well love this book too.
Profile Image for Wench.
620 reviews42 followers
January 11, 2016
Can we talk for a minute about how awesome it is that our titular princess is a mixed-race girl? And how her fellow warriors are all different races, sizes, shapes, and genders? And how the moral of the story is that people aren't just one thing? Can we? Because it's awesome.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,251 reviews3,562 followers
May 13, 2019
I almost passed on this one because the cover looked so ridiculous. But am I ever glad I picked it up. It's hilarious! How can you not love a farting pony with eyes that look in two different directions?

Poor Princess Pinecone. All she wants is a horse fit for a warrior. But her parents get her this pony instead. She tries to make it work, but the pony is just not cut out for battle. However, it may have a secret weapon of its own (and it's not gas)!

The text and illustrations work perfectly together. There are lots of cute touches in the illustrations. (Who knew that, after a month of scheduled skirmishes and battle training, warriors have a craft day?)

I can see why this book was a Goodreads Choice nominee. It's so much fun!

Quotable moment:

Profile Image for Paige.
372 reviews552 followers
February 10, 2017
Look, I don't normally read/review (and in this case) freak out over children's pictures books, but this is just so darn cute. I picked this up when I was doing my volunteer shindig at the Scholastic warehouse and FELL IN LOVE.
Princess Pinecone and her little pony are too adorable for words and I will push this book on everyone to read because of its cute factor. A derpy pony that is squishy and adorable? Check. That same pony having not one, but two mentions of farting? Check. A pony and princess that save the day? Check!
In the dark hell that was 2016, this was a true gem and shining moment. I'm definitely keeping this one for my kids (if I ever have them).
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
November 13, 2015
The whole family will read all these Goodreads Children's Illustrated book nominees for 2015 and rate all of them.

So, this, book ten of fifteen nominated, catapulted into our favorite for the year (though we have two unread), all five star independent ratings! (This is a statistical favorite, for the fan; Harry and I liked this one best, overall; Tara liked best Last Stop on Market Street by Matt LaPena and Christian Robinson; Henry liked Winnie, and Lyra liked A Fine Dessert. But this is the only book that was all five stars from us.

Beaton is known for Hark, a Vagrant! cartoons, so is not primarily an illustrator. The art is comics art, not primarily children's illustration, though Beaton's style here is only a little more cartoony than she usually does for Hark. It has adult (parent) reader appeal for the art. The story is one that fits the current strong girl superhero vein, though this is set in medieval times, and the princess wants to be a knight. She is small, and gets a chubby little pony for a gift, so it would appear a long shot. And boys get swords and other cool weapons for gifts and, as a girl, she gets comfortable sweaters.

How can she win? Well, let me just say that we all loved the way it was resolved, in a surprising and very funny ending. It is the most original entry of all the nominees, really fresh. If you like the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl, you will like this. A lot.

And the pony has gas issues. Yes, a farting pony. Which is always funny for 8-10 year olds. They can't get enough of that stuff. Okay, I also thought that was amusing.

I am one of the few people on the planet who did not think Hark was all that, so I doubted I would like this, but it almost immediately drew me in.

Dave 5 stars (okay, maybe I wrote initially 4.5 stars, but my family talked me into the bump to 5 with retellings about theta they liked about it)
Tara 5 stars
Harry (10) 5 stars ("funny and cute and dumb, but in a good way")
Henry (9) 5 stars ) ("it's really good, and it's funny")
Lyra (8) 5 stars (thought it was awesome, but still thinks Winnie was the best of the year, which is Hank's and my runner-up)
Profile Image for Peter Derk.
Author 25 books353 followers
July 7, 2015
There are two things I like when it comes to cartoon eyes, and this book does one of them:

1. Eyes that are angry for no reason.
Always hilarious. Don't question me on it. Always.

2. Wall eyes.
Again, never a bad idea. Even some of our most-beloved characters would have done well to learn this lesson.


Charlie Brown. Depressed. Reliant on only his tormentor to relieve him of his crippling psychological burdens.

Now let's see what we can do here...


Little warmer. Little closer to a fun kid's character.


There we go. That's the stuff. You listening, Schulz?
Profile Image for Literary Ames.
830 reviews396 followers
December 22, 2015
A farting pony, a racially and culturally diverse cast, a mixed race main character as a young princess with a desire to be a champion warrior only for her birthday, instead of a warhorse, she receives an adorable little pony. Sounds good so far.

Despite the positive female 'girl power' role model whose parents represent mine exactly with a black mother and white father, the cute illustrations (including a veiled warrior woman), the story didn't sit right with me. Yes, the fierce warriors being able to show their soft, cuddly sides at the appearance of the micro pony was nice and all, it just wasn't heartwarming or logical. Pinecone realising her puny pony had value when the warriors paid more attention to the supposedly adorable four-legged creature than her was a little sad.

Generally speaking, picture books don't usually confuse me. The time and place The Princess and the Pony is set is vague. Pinecone is holding a Viking helmet aloft on the first pages, followed by warriors of different times and places including a strongwoman (as opposed to a strongman), a falconer-ess from the Mongolian Eurasian Steppe and a one-eyed Robin Hood. Pinecone's home looks to be some kind of castle with wood beams and animal heads mounted on the walls. Then, at the champion competition, the warriors are in ancient garb while the spectators watching this mass brawl are all in modern clothing clutching foam fingers and popcorn. So this was a Rennaissance fayre and Pinecone isn't really a princess and her parents are in permanent fancy dress? Confused.

As for the brawl the spectators are watching, it was obviously too dangerous and rambunctious for Pinecone to join in with her … spitballs. Yes, you read that right, spitballs. In a fight with adults.

I appreciated the diversity, the feminist edge and the illustrations.
Profile Image for Kandise.
216 reviews
July 8, 2015
Listen, my soon-to-be-1 niece is really too young to appreciate the majesty that is this book, but I will love the shit out of giving it to her.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,174 reviews187 followers
March 12, 2019
Princess Pinecone is the smallest warrior in the kingdom, and longs to show everyone just what she can do. Having asked for a fierce war-horse many times, her wish is finally granted on her birthday... sort of. The pony she is given turns out to be somewhat different from what she was envisioning. Fat and small, with occasionally crisscrossed eyes, and a tendency to fart when excited, the pony is no one'd idea of a battle-winning steed. Still, a princess can always try, and Pinecone struggles to teach her pony the necessary skills, before the upcoming 'great battle.' Things rarely turn out as one expects, however, and Pinecone and her pony find themselves the unexpected stars of the show, when everyone from Otto the Awful to Sally Smash take them to heart.

The debut children's book from noted cartoonist Kate Beaton, whose Hark! A Vagrant collects many of her hilarious comics, The Princess and the Pony takes two themes that are frequently popular with young girls - princesses and ponies - and goes in a different direction with them. As someone who has enjoyed Beaton's adult work - "Dude-Watching With the Brontes" is a particular favorite - I was quite excited to discover this first foray into the world of children's publishing, and certainly hope it won't be the last. Humorous and heartwarming by equal measure, with entertaining comic-style illustrations, this is a picture-book that will engage younger children, and hold their attention. Highly recommended to anyone looking for princess tales with a twist, as well as to fans of the creator.
Profile Image for Becky.
5,417 reviews122 followers
March 21, 2015
Princess Pinecone wants a pony for her birthday. The pony she wants is different than the pony she gets. The pony she gets is short and round and--depending on your point of view, either cute and adorable or ugly. She certainly can't imagine riding the pony, especially not into battle. The pony isn't very warrior-ish. But the pony has a way of charming the other warriors and even Princess Pinecone herself.

If pony farting books are your thing, then The Princess and the Pony may be just right for you. (I believe it got a starred review from Kirkus). Unfortunately, I am not the right reader for the book. I found it odd and not charming enough.
Profile Image for brea.
309 reviews33 followers
November 14, 2015
That was the cutest book I have ever read.

I mean come on! The princess's name is Pinecone; how freaking adorable.

And did you see that roly-poly little horse munchkin. That little pony was such a cute little nugget; I just love them ♥

 photo the-princess-and-the-pony-kate-beaton-illustration_zpsr5dcxr0s.jpg
Profile Image for Katt Hansen.
3,510 reviews95 followers
November 24, 2015
We go into battle to wage war and...get cuddly? Er...

Silly story but with a deeper message I'm not altogether sure I like. I'd have to think about this one a whole lot more before I could say why exactly this one hits me so wrong. It just does.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,096 reviews26 followers
May 8, 2022
My oldest finally let me read this to him again after flat-out refusing to read it for YEARS, with no indication as to why. He liked it this time, but boy did the 4 year old think it was great. Just as fun as I remember, and still made me very happy.
Profile Image for Meagan.
1,317 reviews47 followers
July 12, 2015
I don't read much in the way of picture books, but I'm a fan of Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant, and there's still a bit of a wait for Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection, so this was the perfect way to fill that gap.

The story is cute and funny, but what really makes the book for me was the illustration. I would hang the two-page spread pony picture in my office, I swear. I don't have kids, so I can't guarantee it, but I suspect that this is one of those books that will appeal to kids while also not killing the souls of their parents. (At least not for the first fifty storytimes.)
2,490 reviews42 followers
July 10, 2015
As I get older I find that I enjoy these children's books a lot. A nice break from the heavyweight stuff I normally tackle.

This one is the story of a princess who wants to be a mighty warrior. To that end, she wishes for a big horse instead geting a roly-poly pony. Resolved to do her best in the coming games, the princess learns there's more than one way to win.

Fun little book that the wee ones will surely enjoy.
Profile Image for Selena.
1,857 reviews245 followers
March 10, 2016

This is everything I wanted and more.

Oh my gosh, this was adorable and funny and sweet and quirky. Who wouldn't love a story about a mini warrior princess and her adorably fat pony?

Loving it. Loving it so much. I think I may need to buy a copy to keep since the library will eventually ask for their copy back.
Profile Image for Bruce Gargoyle.
874 reviews142 followers
November 17, 2016
Ten Second Synopsis:
Warrior Princess Pinecone wants nothing more for her birthday than a magnificent horse worthy of a warrior princess. Her parents nearly get it right.

This has gone straight to the favourites shelf. I absolutely loved this book - it's quirky, it's funny, it has a fantastic range of diverse characters and it is just the perfect antidote to the cliched princess story. Surely a modern classic.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Becki .
353 reviews113 followers
January 3, 2016
Oh man this was too cute. TOO FREAKING CUTE!!

All in all this book is about the weak wanting to be in the glory of war while the tough sometimes want sweaters.

Also I know why the princes was disappointed about getting a pony but come on when I was growing up a pony was on every Christmas or Birthday list of my friends for at least five years. She's lucky she actually got one.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 968 reviews

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