My four-year-old loves books. She can’t read yet, but she loves them. She makes us read them to her, she’ll memorize what we say, then she “reads” it back to us with her own personal spin. I love this.
Like many other four-year-old girls, she also loves My Little Pony. She makes us read her My Little Pony books, she’ll memorize what we say (my husband and I have learned the hard way to not utter anti-Pony propaganda under our breaths as we read), then she “reads” it back to us. Again. And again. And again. I hate this.
I am not a My Little Pony fan. Never was and never will be. But my kid does, so I smile and go with the flow. I am GREAT at feigning interest. Because I HAVE TO. There’s nothing interest-grabbing or mildly redemptive in half of all text geared to children.
This little comic booklet showed up in my daughter’s Christmas stocking. My Little Pony: Twilight Sparkle & Shining Armor. Don’t let those small heads with massive eyes scare you. They’re not aliens coming to probe your ass and take your soul; they’re ponies. Good ponies, even.
Long story short: Purple Pony visits her brother, White Pony, in his supposedly haunted castle. She’s a geek who plays a Dungeons and Dragons knock-off and knows all about weird stuff, so the freaked-out castle inhabitants go to her to find the ghost. She teams up with her brother, finds the specter, and everyone’s happy.
Parents who have to read the same crap over and over again tend to go into autopilot mode to save their sanity. Autopilot mode decreases stress, prevents brain cells from committing suicide, and allows one to maintain the same “OMG! Ponies! YAY!” timbre. But it keeps you from paying close attention to the inside jokes placed in the the story by kindly writers and artists who know that digesting this tripe is a difficult endeavor.
I think these sly references are their way of apologizing for what we have to endure.
The bone tossed to parents in this comic is sitting right there in the front row. Rather, the plunger is tossed. See the ponies in the left corner? The two rocking hats, mustaches, and interesting hip tattoos (or “cutie marks,” as they’re referred to in this universe)?
Yep. They threw in Mario and Luigi ponies!!! OMG!!! Super Mario Bros. Ponies!!! Super Mario Bronies!! YAY!!
And since I went to library school, I have to point out the stereotyped librarian pony. He’s old, be-speckled, gray-maned, and has open books for cutie marks (hey artist, thanks for not making him an old lady pony with cats on her tush!).
Steely-faced LIS Pony has seen glowing eyes in his library and is missing books — quelle horreur! Mario and Luigi Brony hear chains when working on the castle’s crappers. They appear to be shaking in their hooves. It could either be the mysterious sounds or the horrors they’ve seen in pipes clogged by massive horse dumps. Equally bad, I’d imagine.
The Mario Bronies are kickin’ it old school with a Donkey Kong reference.
Yeah, Donkey Kong!! My four-year-old did not get the joke. I tried to see if my six-year-old son got it, but he couldn’t be bothered. Kids these days…
There’s so much to unpack in this scene. First, Mario runs off, vowing to come back if Purple Pony gets kidnapped. “Maybe we’ll come and get you later,” he says. It seems Mario learned his lesson and stopped making it a point to save every princess with a problem. Maybe he’ll come back.
Seems like ol’ Mario got burned on previous princess rescue operations. I always thought Princess Peach had a thing going on with Bowser, by the way.
Second, LIS Pony gets piiiiiiissed about collection theft AND overdue books.
“Using another book for bait seems rather risky. Perhaps we could try something less valuable, like a member of the staff?” asks LIS Pony. I admit, I laughed way too hard at that. This scene made me realize that LIS Pony isn’t the librarian; he’s the library director, and one who’s all too willing to cut costs at the staff level instead of slashing his own perks and benefits.
But I digress.
In the end, the monster was found, the books were safe, and LIS Pony got free labor to re-shelve all the formerly-stolen haul.
5 out 5 sarcastic sighs. Will be forced to read it again.