I am delighted to join the blog tour for Marcy Campbell and Corinna Luyken’s new release, Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse (Dial Books for Young Readers; ages 3-5). A gorgeous and poignant lesson in empathy and compassion, I expect it to become a favorite of parents, librarians, and educators everywhere.
Adrian Simcox is an odd boy — a scattered daydreamer who is often alone. Most of his interactions with others center on talking in great detail about his horse. Chloe is a clever girl who sees no rational explanation for how Adrian Simcox could own a horse. Confidant in her conclusion, she indignantly asserts that he most definitely does NOT have a horse to anyone who will listen. An unexpected visit to Adrian’s home teaches Chloe that what he does not have in material goods, he makes up for in imagination. With a greater understanding of his circumstances, Chloe is able to appreciate the transformative power of Adrian’s imagination and embrace his fantasy with kindness and compassion.
This is a superb book. Beautifully written, it perfectly captures the rigid, black-and-white thinking of children while rich illustrations convey nuanced emotion and highlight the socioeconomic difference between these two characters. It’s a book to broaden the world view of children, who are often limited to the narrow scope of their individual experiences. And a lesson in the value of appreciating the limits of our own knowledge and approaching others with kindness and compassion. Overall, I think it’s a book with the power to make the world a better place by fostering an empathic disposition toward others.