I have been avoiding writing about My Little Pony because I have so few positive things to say about it, and part of me feels bad picking on ponies. But here I go: I do not like their colors (pink/ purple/ lemon yellow/rainbow etc); I do not like their expressions (submissive smile, curly eyelashes, eyes cast downward) I do not like their names (Pinkie Pie, Daffadaisy, Rainbow Dash) I do not like the accoutrements that are either too small or too large (giant plastic playhouses, tiny clothing of the Polly Pocket persuasion including brushes and bows). At my mother-in-law’s house, I saw a pony from about ten years ago, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as the modern one: pink and purple, yes, but just two shades, not lavender to royal purple and rose deepening into to bright pink; her tale was straight, not curly; she had no eyelashes at all, and no sparkles; ponies today have evolved into uber-barbies, even their eyes are multi-colored with stars and hearts embedded, and they sport swirly tatoos also with hearts, stars, and rainbows on their backs or legs.
I guess these stories can be good for young kids, I’d say one – three year olds because there really is nothing scary in them at all, no wicked characters. The problems are always pretty minor and usually involve conflict over friendship, for example, two ponies want to star in the same play; or one pony wins a prize at a fair when she wishes for another another prize that her friend wins. One of the most dramatic stories has all the rainbows disappearing from Ponyland. Of course, nothing is more horrifying than a My Little Pony story without a rainbow on every page. Luckily, these rainbows just fade, they never actaully vanish.
The books themselves are very flimsy and skinny and the positive of that is when I travel with my kids, I buy several books (maybe ten, they’re also cheap and at Barnes an Noble if you buy 3 or 5, you can get one free) so the kids have new stuff to keep them occupied on the plane ride. The negative of the cheapness is that they come apart and don’t last long (but I can’t say I care too much, even encouraging the ten month old to take a look)
These ponies threaten to dominate kid world just in numbers of products associated with them. At least the books are books, and the kids are reading or trying to. But the books are accompanied by so many toys and toys sets: these ponies have discos and circuses and tea parties etc. Not to mention movies– I would guess in the hundreds, but maybe it just feels like that.
Alice started loving these ponies when she was two and is still a little interested at 3 1/2. How I cope is we make up stories with them, using them as characters with her other creatures (wild animals etc) and they go on adventures and such, rescuing butterflies from evil spiders’ webs.
Ponies get ***SSS/ G*** rating. They could not be more stereotypical in their looks, names, sceneries, storylines etc but they get one ***G*** because the females are the stars of the show. I can think of only one major male character in the series, and this kind of consistent attention to a positive female friendship is a theme too rare in a book world dominated by boy buddy stories.