Friday, October 30, 2020

Review - The Ugly Pony

The Ugly Pony

by Angharad Thompson Rees
Date: 2017
Publisher: Little Whimsey Press
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 54
Format: e-book
Source: Kobo

A sweet story, gorgeously illustrated by the author, The Ugly Pony tells the journey of an awkward pony galloping on bravely through bullies and hecklers. A beautiful retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic, The Ugly Duckling, with a touch of unicorn magic!

About The Ugly Pony: When strange-looking pony Bella is born at a prize-winning stud yard, nobody wants to be her friend. She looks too different to fit in. Now, with the showing season looming and the prize-winning ponies heckling her, Bella must find her own inner beauty or risk getting bullied forever...

(synopsis from Goodreads)

A few days ago, my router decided to have a brain fart. Stuck with only what was downloaded onto my computer for reading material, I decided to give this freebie a try. Let's just say that I was glad when I had access to the internet again.

Now, The Ugly Pony isn't terrible. It's a basic retelling of "The Ugly Duckling" but with ponies and unicorns taking the place of ducks and swans. Unfortunately, the creativity doesn't extend much further than that. The story unfolds in pretty much the same way as the original, but without the logic. At least I can understand how an egg might end up in the wrong nest. How does a pony end up giving birth to a unicorn (unless Bella's mother got frisky with a magical visitor)?

The illustrations are underwhelming. I get that this is an illustrated chapter book and not a picture book. But the black-and-white drawings didn't excite me at all. I think colour illustrations (similar to what's on the cover) would've made this a more appealing book, at least aesthetically. The writing itself has a few problems that an editor should've caught, and it's not all that engaging.

If I were to recommend this, I'd probably only recommend it to kids who haven't read too many versions of the original story before. When you're retelling a classic tale, you either need to have spectacular illustrations or you need to add a twist that makes people sit up and take notice. This book has neither, unfortunately, so I can't really recommend it.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 2/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 1/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.75 out of 5

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