Spoofing the Grimms: Ponyella by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans
ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A BEAUTIFUL HORSE NAMED PONYELLA.
HER COAT WAS AS WHITE AS MARSHMALLOWS AND HER MANE WAS LONG AND SILKY.
Ponyella is beautiful and beloved by her owners, but when the farm is sold, alas, she falls on hard times. No more the pampered favorite, Ponyella is relegated to a tiny, smelly stall by the new proprietors' darlings, Plumpkin and Bun Bun, and our heroine is demoted to lowly cart-horse chores, pulling the coal wagon around the farm, a job which colors her glorious hide in a sooty gray.
Of course, groomed and with their hooves professionally polished, Plumpkin and Bun Bun strut their stuff when Princess Penelope pays a state visit to the farm, knowing that Her Highness will be picking the Champion of the Tippington Grand Royal Pony Show.
"WHEN IS THE SHOW?" ASKED PONYELLA EXCITEDLY.
"WHAT DOES IT MATTER? YOU'RE NOT GOING!" SAID BUN BUN.
Ah, but the wicked Plumpkin and Bun Bun have reckoned without the Fairy Godmare, who takes pity on poor Ponyella, and with a few professional POOFS and seemingly simple swishes of her magical tail, transforms an old farm trailer and the barn mouse Sam into a lovely carriage and performs a few improvements in Ponyella's personal hygiene as well:
"CHEESE LOUISE!" SAID SAM.
"HOME BY THE STROKE OF NOON!" COMMANDS THE FAIRY GODMARE.
Of course, we know where this one is going. Ponyella, poshly turned out as Fifi Frou Frou from Paris, pleases Princess Priscilla perfectly, but after giving her a thrilling ride, has to dash as the clock strikes noon, leaving behind one of her diamond horseshoes. But the princess knows a perfect pony when she sees one, and after an bit of the pro forma unpleasantness with Plumpkin and Bun Bun back at the farm, Ponyella's shoe fits and she is happy to wear it, going off with Princess Priscilla for a fabulous "bridle party," happy ever after, leaving the coal-cart haulage and drayage duties to the repentant Plumpkin and Bun Bun.
In Laura Numeroff's and Nick Evans' Ponyella (Hyperion, 2011), it's a perfect pairing of a pony and a princess, in a perky parody of a favorite fairy tale which will give even the most-Disney-princess-stricken reader more than a few giggles of recognition. Lynn Munsinger, illustrator of the award-winning Hooway for Wodney Wat and the Tacky the Penguin tales, pinks it up in the best princess tradition here, all the while tossing in some spoofy touches of her own in her accompanying artwork. As Publishers Weekly puts it, "A sweet, playful adaptation that's just right for the My Little Pony crowd."