STARRED REVIEW
August 2018

A gentle lesson in compassion

By Marcy Campbell, illustrated by Corinna Luyken
Review by

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.

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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.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse

By Marcy Campbell, illustrated by Corinna Luyken
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ISBN 9780735230378

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