Norton Saves the Day & Norton's Blue Ribbon, by Bernadette Kelly

‘Norton must be opening the paddock gate all by himself,’ I said. ‘How clever.’
‘How naughty,’ said Mum. ‘He got into that new bag of oats. It’s just lucky I found him before he ate himself sick.’

Norton the naughty pony is back, in two more chapter book adventures, still just as naughty and as funny as in the first two books in the Pony Patch series. In Norton Saves the Day, Norton’s owner, Molly, takes him to riding school, to give him some lessons. Of course, really they shouldn’t be in the beginner classes, but they show the other riders – and their horses – how things should be done. Molly is surprised to realise that the instructor thinks that Norton is naughty. Norton needs to show that he can listen.

In Norton’s Blue Ribbon Molly takes Norton to the local show. When Norton eats the flower on the judge’s hat, he misses out on a ribbon, but Molly is sure he deserves to win something.

This delightful series is easy to read, with short, humorous stories which will appeal to young horse-lovers. The main humour comes from the clash between the story being told in Molly’s first-person narrative, and the events being shown in the illustrations, which show us what is really happening. Like any loving owner, Molly’s take on Norton’s behaviour is very different from the reader’s observation.

Sure to be a hit with readers aged 6 and up, especially horse-mad girls.

Norton Saves the Dat and Norton’s Blue Ribbon, by Bernadette Kelly, illustrated by Liz Alger
black dog books, 2008