Do you know any horse-crazy kids? Lots of people have sports and hobbies, but it seems to me that children and adults who love horses want to spend every waking moment immersed in their obsession. Which is where books like this come in!
The Pony Patch Collection is actually four junior novels in one. Written by Bernadette Kelly, and illustrated by Liz Alger, it was published by black dog books in 2009 (now part of Walker Books Australia). I love the style of this publication, which is perfect for kids who need some support in their reading. It's a paperback, so is not too heavy to hold, despite being a collection of four. It has large print and lots of white space, so it's not daunting the way a middle grade chapter book might be. It's illustrated, which gives young readers lots of clues if they choose to read it independently.
Norton is a naughty pony that loves to eat. His owner, Molly, thinks he is the most perfect pony in the world.
Kelly has created such lovable characters in Norton and Molly. There is much humour in the dichotomy between what Molly thinks, and what is actually happening.
At the third jump, Mrs Withers said, 'This jump is called an apex. It can be tricky, so it's important to plan your approach.'
Norton had a plan, but it didn't seem to be the same as mine.
Alger's black and white sketches are just as full of action and life as the stories, and complement them beautifully. Often, Molly's words don't quite gel with what we SEE has actually happened, and Alger also manages to show such a variety of expressions on Norton's face, making many giggle-worthy moments.
After the four Norton books (Naughty Norton, Losing Norton, Norton Saves the Day, and Norton's Blue Ribbon) comes a great glossary, information on looking after a pony, and pony facts. So kids are actually getting fun fiction stories linked to solid non-fiction facts, a definite win-win.
The Pony Patch Collection would be a great choice if you have kids who love horses, but it is definitely also worth considering if you have children who will enjoy humour and action in an easy-to-read format. The publishers have added still more value to the book with excellent teacher's notes on their website, making it the perfect choice for homeschoolers and teachers.