Alison Lester is the well-known creator of many popular and award-winning children's books, many of which reflect her own country childhood.The Snow Pony was shortlisted for both YABBA and KOALA awards, reflecting its popularity with young readers of horse stories. The Quicksand Pony was shortlisted for the National Children's Award, Festival Awards for Literature in 1998, and in 1999 was the winner of the WA Young Readers Book Awards. Her picture book Are We There Yet? was the winner of the 2005 CBC Book of the Year - Picture Book award. Alison Lester was Australia's Children's Laureate in 2012 and 2013.
Gr 1-3-American readers will be introduced to a ``jinker,'' a ``bush run,'' and ``mobs of cattle'' in this gentle memoir. Spanning one year of her childhood on an Australian farm overlooking the sea, Lester's narrative begins and ends near Christmas time in the summer-perhaps a puzzling combination for northern hemisphere children. The scant story line-a child longs for a horse to replace deceased Inky-weaves in and out of the scenes of the everyday life of this family of four children. Such events as the Quietest Pony Contest, the dog high jump, a difficult calf birthing, and cattle drives are engagingly described. Illustrations are plentiful and intricate; varying sized panels (often three per page) create a design that adds great visual interest. The straightforward family portrait that stretches across the top of the first page is particularly charming, introducing each member astride a horse or motorbike. The author's writing and illustrating style is delicate. Her watercolors, neatly lined with ink; the highly stylized figures and faces; and the abundant detailing all contribute to this lovely picture book.-Lee Bock, Brown County Public Libraries, Green Bay, WI
Lester ( Imagine ; Isabella's Bed ) opens the barn door, as it were, upon her recollections of life on the Australian farm where she grew up. Family members are introduced up front; the reader then follows the various characters through the ups and downs of one year. As narrator, Lester also lets readers in on some more personal matters--such as her longing for a new pony or her attempts to become famous. Summer days, she reports, were filled with driving ``mobs'' of cattle, picking blackberries and, perhaps, taking a swim. Australian autumn brought new calves, rainstorms and mushrooms; after a winter spent doing chores, springtime marked the season for ``tadpoling and fishing expeditions'' as well as baling hay. Children will likely be fascinated by the different seasons Down Under. Lester's fond remembrances contain dollops of humor and tenderness, and a wealth of information about farm life can be inferred. Through it all, the author/artist's childlike sensibilities keep the pace lively. Her somewhat pale watercolor palette accommodates each of the seasons, offering a pleasant glimpse at a foreign landscape. And her friendly cast of kind-faced figures is truly likable. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)