Meet Mini Whinny, the littlest horse in the stable! She is ever so cute ... and ever so naughty! It's August 1, the official birthday for all horses. But Mini Whinny wants a celebration of her very own. Why should she share with all the other horses? In the middle of the night she slinks out of her stable and steals away with all the party preparations ...
This story offers a delightful lesson on the joys of sharing.
Miss 10 year old is an avid reader and I'll catch her reading flyers and the back of a cereal pack if she's bored! Miss 8 on the other hand has the attention span of a goldfish and is not a keen reader. She gets books from the library and says she's read them but I know she hasn't so I'm always on the lookout for interesting books that will pique her interest. When she saw Mini Whinny she picked it up and gave it a cursory glance before putting it down. When Miss 10 saw it, she sat down and read it in 5 mins laughing at certain places and said how good it was. Well, this seemed to get Miss 8's interest and to make sure she read it, I sat down with her and got her to read it to me.
Mini Whinny is a hardback book with some gorgeous, colourful illustrations. The letters are a good size and there aren't too many words on each page which makes it nice and easy to read for emerging readers. Miss 8 successfully managed to read the book, only stumbling on the name of one of the horses.
There is a great moral to the story and when Miss Whinny has a tantrum Miss 8 said how silly she looked. Miss 8 was not so happy when I likened the tantrum to some of hers! Overall, this is a great, well written and well illustrated book that emerging readers and horse loves will thoroughly enjoy!
The twins' little sister, Miss Three, was very happy when she learned that she was going to review this book with me. Up to now they have got to listen to the story and then give me their feedback, but this time it was her turn. She became quite bossy, telling them to stand back as it was HER book, and allowing them to look at it only when she said they could. Given the theme of the story, this was incredibly funny!
I was relieved that it comes with a hard cover because I could see there would be quite a few little hands turning the pages once I had gone. Little kids love stories about animals anyway, and these girls live in the country so they are used to seeing horses in the nearby paddocks. As for birthday parties - well, they know all about them too although unfortunately the twins always have to share! When they realised that this was to be a story about sharing too, they became very excited - only to be told to back off because it was not their book!
Miss Three loved the way that Mini Whinny, the littlest horse, became sulky when she was told she had to share her birthday with every other horse. When Mini Whinny lay on her back and had a tantrum, the twins laughed and said that was just like Miss Three when she was in a bad mood! Miss Three ignored that; she was too busy looking at the pictures and trying to work out what Mini Whinny was going to do.
When Mini Whinny had finished being naughty and was sitting on her own feeling miserable, Miss Three started feeling sorry for her too. She said she would give her a party even if she had been naughty because she did not like seeing the little horse feeling so sad. When the story ended happily with all the horses singing Happy Birthday together, Miss Three joined in too. What is more, she even told the twins to sing as well!
Although Miss Three had enjoyed the story and was glad that everyone lived happily ever after, the twins were able to understand the deeper message. It is amazing what a couple of years can do - they have so much more understanding that their little sister, and show clear empathy for other people. No longer egocentric toddlers, they can make room for others' feelings so that nobody gets left out. The book may have been given to Miss Three, but the older girls gained just as much if not more from the message.
Special mention should be made of the artwork. The illustrations are beautifully coloured, with plenty of detail to delight children. Pictures are so important for pre-schoolers who are still on the cusp of learning to read; in this way, the story is told as much through the graphics as through the words. All three children loved the horses - each one an individual even when there were as many as a dozen on a two-page spread. The expressions on their faces are almost human whether smiling, looking puzzled, or throwing a tantrum! The girls loved them, and I must admit, so did I.
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