Noni the Pony goes to the Beach
Allen & Unwin, 2014
hbk., 24pp., RRP $A24.99
Noni the pony is back – this time in a fun romp along the beach with her farm friends, the “ladies-next-door’ Coco Cat and Dave Dog. Sliding down the dunes, splashing in the waves, building sandcastles and just enjoying the sunshine. But there’s trouble when a whale catches Dave’s attention and he swims too far out. Will Noni be able to rescue him?
Written in rhyming text, this is a charming adventure story for young readers who will be able to relate to the activities, especially the part about going after tired after a very long day. With summer approaching, perhaps even here early, this is the perfect introduction to a unit about beach safety for little ones. As Cat sleeps in the ‘hammock’ is she wearing sunscreen? Promote the slip, slop, slap and wrap message. If you saw a whale, would you go too far out? Who might rescue you? Introduce the message and meaning of the red and yellow flags. Encourage the children to be the spokespeople for beach safety in their families. Consider a display with Noni the Pony offering pieces of advice. A search of the internet will bring up colouring pages, video clips and activities that will help the children understand the message. Teachers’ notes are available.
Alison Lester is a master at making a simple story that on the surface is just a delightful parent/child read-along carry a complex message that a skilled teacher can turn into an investigation that brings about lifelong learning.