Score: An orange sticker with rainbow stars
These two books are the first attempt by Hasbro to create literature directed at older girls (roughly ages 8+) based on the fourth generation My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series. These are chapter books whose only illustrations are what looks like a single clip art picture introducing each chapter. These two books are very light reading, and appropriate for most anyone, although I wouldn’t suggest these books to people who are opposed to advertisements disguised as media.
From what I can tell, the author was brought onto this project because of an existing contract with the publishing house Little Brown & Company. One of the writers for the show, Meghan McCarthy, said in a tweet that she was consulted “for one part of the [Twilight Sparkle book],” and that seems about the only contact Ms. Berrow had with the staff. In the first book, the characters came across as forcing their personality traits into the story – Pinkie Pie and her watch being the most serious offender. Some internet commentators have noted that it “feels rushed,” and I happen to agree.
By the second book, though, the story and characters seemed to be more in their element. It focuses on the MLP:FIM episode “The Cutie Mark Chronicles,” where we learn about Pinkie Pie being “played against type,” as show writer Mitch Larson put it – she grew up on a gray, boring rock farm. Pinkie then uses her extreme will power, again pulled from the MLP:FIM episode “Too Many Pinkie Pies.”
Unfortunately, the Twilight Sparkle book uses one of the plot hooks that seems to have permeated modern stories for children – the Single Point of Failure MacGuffin. For the Barbie Fairytopia films, it was the queen who kept the lights on which kept away the baddies. When will these mythical creatures learn the value of redundant backup systems? Whenever these plots arise, I can’t help but to think of the creatures in trouble as terrible planners, and that they’re getting what they deserve.
On another note, the Twilight Sparkle book explains how Princess Cadence came to be a princess. I wonder if this was the part that Ms. McCarthy consulted on, as it was never brought up in the show. I’m interested to see if it will be referenced or even used in the fourth season of the TV show.