Wednesday 10 April 2013

Princess Evie's Ponies - Confetti the Magic Wedding Pony by Sarah Kilbride and Sophie Tilley (Simon and Schuster)

Quite a few books give Charlotte that big open-mouthed 'gasp' when they emerge from their cardboard wrapping, when publishers are kind enough to send us things to review. That was pretty much what happened with this, the latest book in the highly successful "Princess Evie's Ponies" range by Sarah Kilbride and Sophie Tilley.

As you know, this week's #ReadItMD13 theme is all about the gender gap and gender stereotypes in children's books. But when you're a dad, and despite your best efforts to sneak in books about robots, space and monsters, there's absolutely no getting round the fact that a book so utterly and completely aimed at girls is going to appeal wholly to a little girl who loves all the aforementioned but can't get enough of very girly sparkly princessy stuff too.

Princess Evie (for the uninitiated) is a little girl who has a magical stable of ponies. When she takes each of them out on a ride through the tunnel of trees near the stables, magical things happen and Evie is transported to a fairy-tale world of excitement and fantasy.

"Confetti the Magic Wedding Pony" is probably the most colourful of her Pony friends (and the bonus with this book range is that your little girl will LOVE the fold-out cardboard pony to play with while reading the book). When Evie takes Confetti out on a canter she's soon whisked off to be a bridesmaid at her friend Bella's sister's wedding (Charlotte could not get enough of Bella's sister, so beautiful and her dress was more jaw-dropping than Kate's!)

Bella's naughty dragon pet is given charge of the wedding rings, and that's when the trouble starts. The dragon promptly disappears, the mischievous scamp, and it's up to Evie, Bella and Confetti to track down the dragon and those all-important rings before the wedding can go ahead.

As a dad, this is a very challenging book to read straight-faced :) I kept (rather naughtily) trying to do silly voices for Evie and Bella, as well as the beautiful bride - and was very swiftly told off by Charlotte for doing so.

As much as we love it when Charlotte goes for all the non-gender-specific books or breaks the mould by loving books about dinosaurs and pirates, she was completely and utterly in her element with this book - largely thanks to Sophie Tilley's amazing illustrations.

Charlotte's best bit: The Bride's dress, utterly and completely jaw-dropping. Wow!

Daddy's favourite bit: A great book for putting me right outside my comfort zone, but well worth reading purely for Charlotte's reaction to it - which was bordering on euphoric :) One slight annoyance was that it was very hard to remove the model of Confetti from the book without damaging it, as careful as we were. That glue was some very sticky stuff!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Simon and Schuster Children's Books)