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Pickles and Ponies: A Fairy-Tale (Radugan Tales) (Volume 1) Paperback – September 21, 2014
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About the Author
Laura is an Australian who keeps forgetting she’s meant to stay in the same place. She loves adventures—which is good, because she’s constantly winding up in the middle of them. When she’s not accidentally finding herself in the middle of a riot, being tear-gassed or jumping into frozen rivers, she enjoys sailing, snowboarding, and making an obnoxious number of puns. You can follow Laura and her latest adventures at www.explaura.net
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Top customer reviews
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Another reviewer referred to this as a middle grade novel but it strikes me as fundamentally written for adults and it does work well as an adult novel. One of the elements that I most enjoyed was the story's exploration of love. This exploration is carried out in a light and affectionate way. It's kept simple, which is really how love is. Helping each other. Not forgetting one's feelings. Enjoying life. In fact the tale is full of affection for even the feelingless Prince Vanya. After all, it's not his fault that he doesn't feel. And he does try to his best to be honest and responsible, which is the closest he can get.
Laura maintains a lovely balance with her exploration of the dangers of feeling, as well. Melodia, Horse, and Prince Theo all wrestle with coming to terms with out of balance or unrealistic feelings.
Despite what I said above about this being an adult's story, I think it could also be entitled " A Child's Guide to Love and Life." There are no terribly revealing new insights into our emotional lives in the book but there don't need to be. Laura reminds us through the medium of fairy tales that life is about friends and feelings in the most simple and direct of ways.
Laura has a well-developed sense of humor, tending to the pun. Be prepared to duck quite a few as they spring out at you during the story. I personally enjoyed her drawing on some Slavic words in the story. It was fun to recognize them.
Being an author of two novels myself (Death by Haggis,Death by Haggis and Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom,Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom both available on Amazon) I know how tricky it can be to weave a consistent story that keeps the reader entertained. Laura does a great job of creating an entertainingly complex plot and keeping the story moving along, while fleshing out the characters. Congrats, Laura.
Star Rating: 5 stars
Number of Readers: 29
‘This is a very fun book for adults and teenagers. It is a fairy tale but different. I liked the comedy in it.’ Girl, aged 13
‘My two teenagers enjoyed this book. I was rather surprised at the content; the title and cover design suggest it is for much younger children. The publisher might want to alter the cover to entice the correct reader to open the book.’ Parent
‘I read this book for The Wishing Shelf Award and very much liked it. I liked Vanya very much; he was a sort of sad character but a brave prince too. The story is a bit like Shrek and I laughed a lot. It is rather long though.’ Boy, aged 13
‘This ia very much a tongue-in-cheek play on the traditional fairy tale. I think the author enjoyed writing it and I, in turn, enjoyed reading it. There is a satisfying ending and an enticing cover.’ Teacher
‘This author is a talented writer, capable of keeping up the pace and making the reader laugh.’ Girl, aged 15
Of the 29 readers:
27 would read another book by this author.
1 felt it was too long.
6 suggested the cover was too ‘young’.
15 thought the humour was the best part of the story.
6 felt the plot was the best part.
‘A wonderfully fun play on the fairy tale. A finalist and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Awards
If you like wordplay, you'll love the writing of Laura May, who seems to have written this book with a knowing smirk on her face, tongue alternatively in cheek or poking out. I want to use the phrase Shrek-esque, in that Pickles and Ponies pin-pricks the fairy tale tropes we've grown up with and knows so well, via a fairy tale itself, while delivering lots of memorable characters (new spins on familiar archetypes), chuckles and 'a-ha' moments along the way. But my description there is more trying to give potential readers a sense of the fun of the story, rather than implying Pickles and Ponies: A Fairy-Tale is in anyway derivative or overly influenced by the dreams of the Dreamworksers.
We have a cursed prince (Vanya) who can't hear his own heart, a talking horse sidekick, a princess awaiting rescue and romance (Melodia), a long quest, and a whole host of creatures great and small met along the way. Will we, however, find ourselves with a happily ever after? Something some characters are hunting for, while others just get on with their lives.
This book is very clever, to the point that it could irritate some readers who aren't so fond of clever wordplay, and makes you think as you follow along. Again, some may not enjoy that either. But if you like seeing a new spin on a classic form, and meeting some interesting characters along the way, then there is plenty to love about Pickles and Ponies. And who knows, maybe even a happily ever after?
Reading it, I smiled, I chuckled, and I wondered. Very enjoyable.