This is no ordinary day at the O.K. Corral pony day care!
Join spirited little Mini Whinny as she beats bullying bad boy Bandit and gives him a truckload of trouble!
This is a perfect story for any child who attends a day-care facility. It is the third book in the Mini Whinny series.
I love that this book is hard covered and is part of a wider series. Children love to make links between texts they have read previously, and therefore I totally support this. The book itself is about animals (which kids love!), is nice and colourful which helps keep the attention of children.
I read this book to my two nieces, aged 7 and 10. They enjoyed the story, especially the 7 year old. She liked the story - especially because, like many young children she is fascinated by horses. She doesn't enjoy reading very much, so it was great to find a book which had a subject which really grabbed her attention.
The authors have used some rhyming, and repetition of key phrases which really supports our developing readers. My niece felt confident when reading the story alone, especially where she knew sentences were repeated - a support strategy us teachers often use in class.
This story, like the others in the Mini Whinny series, has a message. This one is about bullying, and taking a stand against bad behaviour. As a teacher, I think this text could be a great way to introduce the topic of bullying in a younger classroom context, leading to further discussion about how to deal with bullies.
It is always exciting when a little brother or sister is suddenly old enough to join in with story time. Mr Two is obsessed with animals; he is able to make sense of the illustrations now, especially if they are colourful and not too cluttered, so the Mini Whinny series could have been tailor made just for him. He is learning to recognise colours, and can identify the different "neigh neighs" - a big learning milestone for him. Whenever he gets the chance, he takes the book and "reads" it to himself. One picture that really appealed was the "extra" - Mini Whinny's sheriff hat, upside down with a hen sitting in it!
Miss Four has a completely different approach. Although she too loves the pictures, she can follow the story proper and is fast becoming a critical thinker thanks to the different scenarios presented. She was appalled at the idea of the "naughty ponies throwing poos" although at the same time she thought it was funny. However, she liked the idea that the bully was taught a lesson when the other ponies ganged up on him. At four, she has a social conscience and has learned that bullying of any kind is wrong.
Since she is at a day-care herself while her parents are working, Miss Four could relate to some of the issues raised. She has been learning about friendship and being kind to people, and at her day-care the children are taught to treat one another with respect. When Mini Whinny wanted to join in a game but nobody invited her, Miss Four sympathised. She felt shy on her first day at day-care too, although things got better as she made friends and became accustomed to the routines.
Having one antisocial child in a group can make things difficult for everyone else. Bandit the bully does all sorts of naughty things and the other ponies are unhappy with his behaviour but don't know how to stop him. Once Sheriff Mini Whinny gets them organised, however, they are able to sort him out so that the day-care is a much more pleasant place for everyone. There is a great message for small children here about co-operation and being there for one another. Hopefully, once Bandit has been put in his place, he will realise that things are much happier when he behaves himself and is friendly towards the rest of the ponies.
I like the format of the book. Although it is a soft cover edition, the cover itself is quite sturdy; it has little embossed horseshoes on the outside which small fingers can trace, and a shiny finish which can be wiped clean. The pages themselves are strong enough to withstand two-year-old hands turning them; Mr Two is as likely to read from back to front as from front to back, and sometimes there are several back trackings as he checks out a particular page once more. Altogether, this is a lovely book for pre-schoolers. It would also be suitable for slightly older children who are just learning to read - the print is clear and there are not too many words on each page.
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