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.
Mini Whinny has returned in this great new installment from Stacey Gregg following on from the earlier book Mini Whinny Happy Birthday To Me. My daughter loved the first book the little horse certainly captured her interest especially being so mischievous which my children find ever so funny when a character in a book is a little bit naughty. There is no shortage of mischief this time around either as Mini Whinny suddenly finds she's not the only horse in the stable and doesn't like not being the center of attention!
The story carries some great morals for children to learn about not judging others before you know them and how it is more fun to share with your friends than have to be the best at everything. The story definitely offers up a conversation point for parents to talk to children with when reading the book, and my children and I both agreed that Mini Whinny was definitely being a bit mean and wasn't being very nice to Goody Four Shoes in the beginning. We were all glad that she learned her lesson in the end even if she was a bit silly along the way.
While being a great book for preschool children, and early primary, my 7 year old who likes to join in on his younger sisters storytime still got enjoyment out of the book, while my 2 year old loved the pictures. Ruth Paul has delivered some beautiful illustrations for this book, the horses and other animals have a whimsical feel to them and delighted my children. My two year old loved the pops of sparkle in the pictures with the silver in the horse shoes pointing out the pretties!
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.
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