Each week I review books we’ve read with Squirm. Find other reviews here
Noni the Pony by Alison Lester
(AWW 2013 Squirm Challenge: Book 4)
Noni the Pony is a simple, rhyming story about Noni (a pony) who lives on a farm overlooking the water. She’s a happy pony – friendly and funny – who likes to dance around with the other animals on the farm. But her best friends are the dog, Dave and the cat, Coco. Noni is there for them when they are scared . . . and when the night scares Noni, Dave and Coco appear to make things better.
This is a gorgeous simple picture book which would probably appeal to a large range of readers. Noni is a very likable character, with a real personality, even though she is an animal. The animals are drawn in a clear, simple style and then set against more muted backgrounds, so your eye is always drawn to the animals first. My favourite illustration is the one where Noni, Coco and Dave play hide and seek around the creek, where arrows give us an idea of where they might have gone. I’ve always loved that type of illustration which reminds me of maps – I think it invites the reader to become more involved in the book.
This would be a great book to read when looking at farms and farm animals. Most farm books have the farm in the middle of the bush, so it’s really nice to see one near the sea. It would also be pretty easy to create a hide and seek scene with your children, either with a felt board or a piece of paper and a cut out Noni, Coco and Dave.
Amy and Louise by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwod
(AWW 2013 Squirm Challenge: Book 5)
I absolutely LOVED this book. Amy and Louise are best friends who create magical worlds together and keep in contact with a special call – ‘Coo-ee, Lou-ee’, ‘Coo-ee Am-ee’. Then Amy and her family move away, to the other side of the world, and the colour seeps out of Louis and Amy’s lives. Until, that is, Louise finds a way to use the special call to call Amy.
Amy and Louis is told beautifully in two ways. There’s the rhythmical, repeating language which shows the reader the special friendship between the pair in a minimum of words. Then there’s the illustrations, which focus on red, blue and neutrals to create the magical world which the pair have created in their friendship. I particularly love how the illustrations show the difference between the suburban world in Australia and the frantic, busy world Amy moves to (which I assume is New York)
This is a great book to read if you’re talking about moving, as well as talking about friendships. You can take some time to look for magical creatures in clouds, like Amy and Louis did, or use cotton wool to create your own cloud creatures. You can use maps to look at some of the wonderful places in the world where people live or, if you’re feeling arty, create neutral art works with just a little bit of colour.