Mini Whinny, the mischievous little horse, plans to escape her annoyingly perfect stable neighbour! Goody Four-Shoes is the best... at everything. She's graceful. She can jump really, really high. And her mane is too perfect.
Mini Whinny doesn't like her. Not one little bit. So naughty little Mini Whinny decides to run away!
This is a delightful story about friendship and having fun with your best mate. The illustrations are by Ruth Paul.
We were all in agreement - Mini Whinny is not the nicest of horses! Not only is she extremely naughty, but she also has lots of negative traits such as jealousy and prejudice, characteristics that we do not want our children to acquire. At the same time, however, this book offers a useful opportunity to discuss her bad behaviour with the child who is enjoying the story, and to allow her to decide for herself how Mini Whinny might have acted. Some values are difficult to teach to very young children, so a story which incorporates them can be helpful in this respect.
The illustrations are a delight, and they were certainly a draw card for Miss Two who loved the clear, bold images and the bright colours. She pointed at the horses on each page, recognising what they were and occasionally turning the page back to have another look. She also enjoyed making a neighing sound as she pointed to each horse! We got the impression that she might quite like a horse of her own one day; she and her father spent a long time reading and then re-reading the story together.
The part where Goody Four-Shoes descended with a "Down, down, down, she fell...." before landing head first FLUMP! in the mud puddle was the funniest part - Miss Two loved that bit, and was pleased that the two little horses wanted to do it again; she joined in enthusiastically with "One, two, three ... Whee-e-e!". Making mud pies and splashing in the muck is a rite of passage for small children, and anyway there is nothing quite so interesting as making a mess - so she could fully relate to this.
Of great amusement to the adults was the way that Mini Whinny behaved when she was being naughty. She sulked and acted out and became thoroughly unpleasant in exactly the same way that a naughty two- or three-year-old will do! We decided that Goody Four-Shoes was probably a little older as she was able to offer a conciliatory gesture to her new friend - a nice resolution, but Goody Four-Shoes made all the running. Mini Whinny did not exactly apologise; she just accepted the outcome (as any small child might do!)
I think this story is a perfect choice for a preschooler who will be reading it with an older person; this means that any negative behaviour can be discussed and used as a learning opportunity. For an older child who might read it on his or her own, however, it might be worthwhile to encourage sharing with an adult in case the wrong impression is gained! And for any age group, Ruth Paul's artwork is so attractive that the child will certainly be drawn in by the images alone.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Harry and his dog Hopper have done everything together, ever since Hopper was a jumpy little puppy. But one day the unthinkable happens. When Harry comes home from school, Hopper isn't there to greet him. Hopper will never be there again, but Harry is not ready to let him go.
This story tenderly demonstrates the shock of grief and the sustaining power of love.
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"Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self respect springs."
Joan Didion (1934 - ), 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem'