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Noni the Pony [Board book]
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About the Author

Alison Lester's books are favourites with children and adults around the world. Magic Beach, Imagine, My Farm and Are we there yet? are Australian classics.

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PreS-K-Rhyming books that are well done are music to the ear, and this one is just that. Noni is a carefree pony who spends her days on the farm cantering and galloping, to the delight of the other farm animals. Her best friends, Dave Dog and Coco the Cat, share in her play and take care of one another when care is needed. When Dave Dog inadvertently falls behind the others, Noni "never lets anyone get left behind." The illustration extends the text with Coco the Cat atop Noni's back looking alarmed as they wait for Dave Dog to catch up. That kind of detail in the illustrations is perfect for this age group, which relies on the pictures to help them decode the words. Later, a spread shows Noni being a little frightened of the woods as night falls and she imagines monsters rustling the leaves. Sharp-eyed children who look at the illustration carefully will see some hidden monsters, but they are not front and center and the smiles on their faces suggest that they are of the kindhearted variety. When Noni is frightened, it is Dave and Coco who snuggle with her until they all fall asleep. Lester's illustrations are charmingly done in black outline with pencil, watercolor, and collage interiors. Simple and bold, with uncluttered backgrounds, they will attract the youngest readers, and the soothing ending will satisfy them.-Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

It's the most adorable title to come down the pike in a long time-and it delivers on every page, even if it's little more than a catalogue of the eponymous character's sunny niceness. Noni, a plump, orange-dappled darling, is "Gentle and kind,/ and never lets anyone get left behind." Her days are filled with frolicking, but if she gets spooked at night ("When the leaves rustle and sigh in the breeze,/ Noni thinks monsters are shaking the trees") she has best buddies Dave Dog and Coco the Cat to provide emergency snuggle assistance. Fans of Lester (Running with the Horses) know that she's an expert horse portraitist, but she opts for a radically streamlined approach in this outing, rendering Noni and her friends as a simple, toylike shapes with just enough details to reveal a cheerful, openhearted character: eager round eyes, a sweet little smile, and-in Noni's case-a wavy mane and tail. There's not a whisper of dramatic tension or narrative arc, but no matter: it's a safe bet that readers will follow her anywhere. Ages 2-5. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Perfect for bedtime reading. Junior

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