Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse--the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.
But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?
The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn't get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.
Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.
We don’t know much about Adrian Simcox, except that he is messy, poor and absolutely doesn’t own a horse. At least, that’s according to his assertive classmate Chloe.
Convinced that Adrian has been lying about his pet horse, Chloe loudly attempts to sway other students to adopt her opinion. It takes an evening walk and an accidentally on-purpose encounter (contrived by Chloe’s mom) at Adrian’s small home for Chloe to take the first steps toward friendship.
Earnestly written by Marcy Campbell, Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse is a creative and honest look at compassion. Campbell puts us inside Chloe’s mind, where her journey toward kindness is real and intimate. Chloe’s mother proves a clever teacher, gently encouraging Chloe to look deeper. Another artful lesson comes in Adrian’s open-hearted bravery as he takes the first steps toward forgiveness.
Corinna Luyken illustrates with precision and grace. Detailed, expressive faces and Chloe’s orderly house stand in contrast to the lavish gardens that burst across the page when Adrian imagines his horse. Hidden in the foliage are the rough outlines of the horse, so beautifully and artistically rendered that they are easily missed. Look carefully; they are worth finding.
School curricula that focus on acceptance and compassion will benefit from incorporating this story, which reminds all readers to look at others with empathy, because they may find a friend. -Jill Lorenzini
A young girl named Chloe learns that, sometimes, it’s more important to be kind than to be correct.
The book opens to loosely drawn children of various ethnicities casually sitting around a long cafeteria table. Pale-skinned, carrot-topped Adrian Simcox sits far to the right, staring off into space. Text set above him declares: “Adrian Simcox sits all by himself, probably daydreaming again.” The next spread—parents and children waiting for a school bus—shows the white narrator looking irritated as she witnesses Adrian telling “anyone who will listen that he has a horse.” Chloe has used logic to figure out that Adrian is lying, and the text pulls no punches as she rattles off some of the ways she can tell Adrian could never afford to own a horse, including “the free lunch at school” and holes in his shoes. Chloe notices that Adrian looks sad after she finally accuses him to his face of lying, but it is her mother’s ingenious use of showing—not telling—that brings Chloe to a new level of understanding. The tale is poignant and at times slightly humorous as well as frankly didactic. The art is an excellent complement, adding such dimensions as Chloe’s mother fixing a bike; contrasts between Chloe’s and Adrian’s respective school desks and neighborhoods; brushy foliage that repeatedly reveals Adrian’s imaginary horse.