'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 18 September 2010

Review: Pony Patch: Naughty Norton

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm not a pony person and I just don't get it - this total and almost disabling love for and addiction to horses that so many little girls (and big girls... and big boys) suffer. Perhaps it's because of the fact that if I step within two hundred metres of one, my eyes turn to watering cesspits of itchyness and the sneezing lasts for hours.

I should be able to relate to this pony addiction. My young daughter is afflicated, after all, and I think I'm slowly getting there, especially after reading book one from the Pony Patch series by author Bernadette Kelly.

Naughty Norton is a naughty boy, oh yes he is. He's a persnickety pony with an attitude and can I just say, he's hilarious. This very clever storyline is told in the first person by young Molly Baxter, who is just the best pony rider in the world, with the best pony in the whole wide world... well, sort of.

Naughty Norton doesn't care for people standing in his way; he barrels straight through them. He doesn't like to be harnessed; he scampers away. When presented with a sugar cube, its poor Molly's fingers he likes to nibble on most, and you should see the drooling mess he makes whilst ingesting an apple. The scene with Norton's foot hanging down from the tree branches above Molly's head is just too precious for words.

He gets around, this pony - but rarely with a happy young rider on this back. And despite Molly's best intentions, it's clear Naughty Norton is the one in charge.

This story had me laughing out loud. Its fabulously fun storyline is perfectly complemented by monochromatic illustrations by Liz Alger, making it a perfectly-balanced giggle-fest. And to make things even more perfect, the author has included a glossary and also notes on how to look after your pony at the back of the book. These notes instruct young pony riders on how to 'take charge' and are brilliant tips from a very experienced rider and horse-lover.

I love the doubly whammy idea in this series - both fun and educational (which are really my kind of books) and Kelly really nails it with a witty, fluidly written reader anyone would love. Yes, even the non-equine-inclined, like me.

More books in this series:
Book 2 - Losing Norton
Book 3 - Norton Saves the Day
Book 4 - Norton's Blue Ribbon

Title: Pony Patch: Naughty Norton
Author: Bernadette Kelly
Illustrator: Liz Alger
Publisher: Black Dog Books, $9.99 RRP
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781921167669
For ages: 5 - 8
Type: Chapter book