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Spirit Riding Free: Pony Tales
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Spirit Riding Free: Pony Tales comprise short mini-episodes, music videos, and regular length episodes featuring Pru, Abigail, and Lucky from Spirit Riding Free. In these collections, most of the action and adventures center on the girls getting ready for and attending the Frontier Fillies Summer Jubilee, a summer camp for girls and their horses. As with the original series, there's no substantial confrontation with the actual history of westward settlement, but topics like friendship conflicts, cheating, and doing the right thing, are all great issues for parents and kids to discuss. Some moments of mild peril, including the girls and their horses getting caught in a mudslide, a venomous snakebite, and a horse thief -- but these girls are the familiar heroines from the series and they show the same smarts, integrity, and courage in addressing their challenges.
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What's the story?
The collections of mini episodes, music videos, and full episodes in SPIRIT RIDING FREE: PONY TALES follow friends Pru, Abigail, and Lucky on adventures in and around Meridero, their fictional frontier settlement town. The mini episodes cover their preparations for the Frontier Fillies Jubilee, a summer camp for girls and their horses. When their camping gear is traded away, they are roped into serving tea and cakes at a neighbor's tea party to get it back. They are then sent to a towering cliff where their camping gear has been stashed; folly and problem-solving follow. The music videos bookend the mini episodes and are catchy pop numbers that celebrate strong girls and friendship. The full episodes are mostly set at the Frontier Fillies Jubilee, where friendships are tested and honesty and teamwork win the day, though the final episode is about a golden horse that shows up mysteriously near Meridero, and the girls set out to find horse's rightful owner.
Is it any good?
Though the adventure, courage, and plucky girl charisma that make the original series a success are present here, these collections of episodes and music videos are a a little disorganized. Is Spirit Riding Free: Pony Tales a mini season? Are they fun stand-alone side stories and songs? It's hard to tell given that one collection consists of music videos and 6-minute episodes and the other collection features full episodes. Aside from that confusion, the shows and videos are of the same visual and storytelling quality of the original.
The situations of peril and menace are also tamer here, so it's safe to show younger kids this collection, a definitely plus for mixed aged families. The music videos are catchy and won't grate on adults when kids play them over and over. Spirit fans (and their slightly younger siblings) should enjoy this grab bag.
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