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

Corinne Fenton: To The Bridge – The Journey of Lennie and Ginger Mick

Illustrated by Andrew McLean

Published by Black Dog Books, 2020

Corinne Fenton has written a wonderful story about a young boy named Lennie and his horse Ginger Mick, both born on the same day in 1922 and destined to ride together 9 years later to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s hard to imagine the spunk and bravery of a 9 year old boy and his trusty horse, being able to navigate the road to Sydney, some six hundred miles away, without a mobile phone, google maps or pre-booked accommodation. And just as hard to understand, that his parents thought he was more than capable of the task ahead and helped and encouraged Lennie to fulfil his dream. Andrew McLean’s illustrations thoughtfully reflect the enormity of the undertaking – my favorite page being the one where the family are gathered around the table looking at maps, the father hovering over his son’s shoulder and the mother with arms crossed, standing close by,  looking apprehensive yet proud.

Corinne has included biographic details at the end of the book with photos of the real Lennie and Ginger Mick, and a reminder of the importance of the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932, employing many workers at the time of the Great Depression.

If you would like to read more about this extraordinary story, look out for this title – Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney By Pony, written by Stephanie Owen Reeder, published by National Library of Australia, 2020.

I can highly recommend this picture book, most suited for 5-8 year olds.

If you like this book, look out for these titles by the same author:

The Dog on the Tuckerbox Illustrated by
Peter Gouldthorpe
Bob the Railway Dog
Illustrated by
Andrew McLean
A Cat called Trim
Illustrated by Craig Smith
See the source image
One Elephant’s Story
Illustrated by
Peter Gouldthorpe