Alison Lester: Noni the Pony counts to a million

Illustrated by the author

Published by Allen & Unwin, NSW, 2021

This is a wonderful counting and rhyming story featuring Noni the pony and her friends as they cavort and play by the grassy shoreline.

Beginning with Noni standing under one tree, we follow her watching two friends dance by the sea. Along the way, we meet three speckled hens, four laughing cows, five hopping wallabies, six wood-swallows swooping through the sky and many more friendly creatures.

Counting all the way up to 10, the next big number is found on Helga who has dozens of spots on her coat, and then on to Harry who has hundreds of spots all over his shaggy body.

Along the road in the dark of night, thousands of cars shine their headlights and finally under millions of stars, Noni and her friends fall fast asleep.

The numbers are highlighted in different colours in the text, and the simple rhymes make this easy to read to young children. The illustrations predominately use various hues of blues and greens which is soothing to look at and helps with the continuity of the story. All the creatures are easy to spot and a great introduction to the joys of counting.

I can highly recommend this picture book for children 2-4 years and below are more suggestions for picture books that teach us all about numbers:

How Do Dinosaurs
Count to Ten?
by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mark Teague

Ten Little Monkeys
Jumping on the Bed
Illustrated by Tina Freeman

Counting our Blessings
by Emma Dodd

When the Moon Smiled
by Petr Horacek

Counting with Tiny Cat
by Viviane Schwarz

One was Johnny
by Maurice Sendak

Ten Little Dogs by Ruth Brown

Anno’s Counting Book
by Mitsumasa Anno

Mouse Count
by Ellen Stoll Walsh

One Yellow Sun
by Michael Arndt

Can You Find 12 Busy Bees?
by Gordon Winch
Illustrated by
Patrick Shirvington

One Blue Shoe by Jane Godwin Illustrated by Jane Reiseger

One Gorilla by Anthony Browne

One Keen Koala by Mem Fox Illustrated by Bruce Whatley

Let’s Count Goats! by Mem Fox Illustrated by Jan Thomas

Bear Counts by Karma Wilson Illustrated by Jane Chapman

123 Dream by Kim Krans

Counting Crocodiles
by Judy Sierra
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

My Very First Book of Numbers
by Eric Carle

123 of Australian Animals
by Bronwyn Bancroft

Alfie’s Numbers
by Shirley Hughes