Friday, February 08, 2008

For clarity's sake

An extract, for your reading pleasure, from the Usborne website dedicated to "A Surprise for Princess Ellie" (that damnable PINK one pictured in my previous post). My comments are in block parens:


"Good girl," [oh, goodie, the horse is female too] said Princess Ellie, as she cantered Moonbeam [eyeroll] towards the last jump. The palomino pony eyed the wooden poles warily and tried to swerve away. But Ellie was ready for her. She [the horse?] kept a firm hold on the reins [oh, "she" in this sentence is not "her" in the previous sentence...] and pushed the pony on with her legs. Moonbeam did as she was told. She leaped forward and cleared the jump easily. Ellie galloped between the finishing posts and pulled her pony to a halt. Then she turned round to see how the others were getting on. She was just in time to watch her best friend soar over the wooden poles on Rainbow [FUCK me!]. Kate's jumping had improved enormously since she came to live with her gran, the palace cook [cooks are good jumpers? hmmm]. Perhaps that was because of all the practice she had on Ellie's ponies [oh, well, better than riding her Gran around anyway]. Prince John was further back, riding Sundance [forehead smack]. The chestnut pony jumped over a fallen tree trunk and cantered down the hill towards the last obstacle. Then he pricked his ears forward, lifted his front legs [lifting the back legs would be wholly different] and bounded over it. Prince John grinned broadly. It was hard to tell which of them was enjoying themselves most, as they galloped through the finishing line. "That was brilliant," said John, as they rode slowly back towards the stables. "I'm going to ask my father to build a cross-country course in the grounds of our palace – but I'm sure mine will be longer." "Of course it will," sighed Ellie. She really liked John. He was the only royal person she knew who shared her love of ponies. But he did have an annoying habit of insisting everything was bigger and better at his home in Andirovia. Kate leaned forward and patted Rainbow's grey neck ["Rainbow" is...grey? OMG]. "I'm not surprised you want one," she said. "Cross-country's much more exciting than jumping in the paddock."

"But even that's not as exciting as a real adventure," [Horse-jumping as adventure? Uh, really?] said John. "Do you remember how we went hunting for ghosts last time I came to stay?" "I was really scared," [chicken!] said Ellie. "So was I," agreed Kate. [henceforth to be known as The Agreeable Friend] "But it was still fun," [translation: "scaring girls is fun, and they enjoy it anyway"] laughed John. "What are we going to look for this time?" The girls stared at him blankly [ girls do most of the time, y'know]. "Well, aren't there any mysterious legends about your palace? What about tales of hidden treasure?"

"I've never heard any," said Ellie.

"Dragon's eggs?" asked John.

"Now you're being silly," giggled Kate. [The Agreeable, Giggly Friend]

"How about a secret passage, then?" suggested John. "All the best palaces have one of those. Our one at home is brilliant." [It has an IQ of 183!]

"But that's not secret," Ellie declared with delight. "It can't be if you know about it." [Well, she's not as dumb as all that] At that moment, they reached the lane that led to the palace stables. A bay pony whinnied loudly and cantered across the nearby field to meet them. She was larger than the ponies they were riding, and the long hair that nearly hid her hooves made her look like a miniature carthorse. She skidded to a halt beside the fence and put her head over the top rail.

"This is Starlight," [it seems obvious that all these horses were named by 4-year-olds] explained Ellie, as Moonbeam sniffed noses with the bay pony. "Do you like her?" [We've got the sun, moon, stars and rainbows covered...all's we need is rain and lightning...and something like midnight or night-time...]

"She's [no male ponies allowed!!] lovely," said John. It was the first time he had come to stay since Starlight arrived, so he hadn't met her before. "She looks much better than she did in that photo you e-mailed to me." Ellie smiled proudly. [ she proud of her mad emailing skilz or the fact that she can't take a decent photo, or maybe because the horse hasn't died yet?] "I'd only just found her then. She'd been living wild for so long that she looked really neglected." [And I'm sure you are the Angel of Mercy who has been nursing her back to health every day] "She doesn't any more," said John. He twisted a finger thoughtfully in Sundance's chestnut mane and added, "She's quite fat now." [words every girl, including a girl horse, loves to hear]

"No, she's not," said Ellie, indignantly. “She's just well built. [big-boned] Ponies like her have big bones." [yup, I told ya] She turned Moonbeam firmly away from the fence and led the way towards the stables. "You don't have to be thin to be beautiful." [...but it helps, girls, it helps. Don't forget: boys notice this stuff!]

There was a long, awkward pause. Then Kate [The Agreeable, Giggly Peacemaker] broke the silence by saying, "Wasn't Ellie clever to catch Starlight?" [Oh, yeah, it's clearly a sign that she should join Mensa] She looked wistful for a moment and added, "I wish I could find a pony." "So do I," [uh, what's wrong with the one you are SITTING ON?!] said John. "I'd like a palomino, like Moonbeam." [OK, everyone in the bus--we're headed to the Lost Pony Store, where you can all pick your favorite color Lost Pony! Pending availability....]

"Copycat!" cried Ellie.

"No, I'm not," said John. "My palomino would be bigger than yours." [Boys are, after all, ONLY about size!]

"Then it wouldn't be like Moonbeam, would it," [see, different sizes mean different breeds...] Ellie declared. "Anyway, you don't need another pony. You've got two already." She'd seen plenty of pictures of the beautiful, chestnut mares he'd left behind in Andirovia. "Why shouldn't I have three?" argued John. "You already had Sundance, Moonbeam, Rainbow and Shadow [yup, had to know it was coming] when you got Starlight. That's five." He sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "Anyway, there's no point arguing about it. My father already thinks I spend too much time riding. [not manly enough] There's no way he'd buy me another pony." "My dad won't get me a pony at all," added Kate, very quietly. ["The last pony, Mom cut up and made into stew. It was delicious, but I missed riding the pony."] The sadness in her voice made Ellie feel guilty. It was mean of her to argue with John about how many ponies they had, when Kate didn't even have one. Ellie was happy to share her ponies with her best friend, but she knew that wasn't the same. Kate desperately wanted a pony of her own. If only there was something Ellie could do to help. [Something tells me there IS something she can do! Quick, go get the book and read Chapter Two]
Next week, I'll take the first few pages of Eragon and deal with them, just to be fair.

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