cover image Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse

Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse

Marcy Campbell, illus. by Corinna Luyken. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7352-3037-8

Chloe scorns the stories that her classmate Adrian Simcox tells about having a horse since she knows they can’t be true: “He lives in town like me, and I know you can’t have a horse in town.” In warm, expressive ink-and-watercolor spreads, Luyken (The Book of Mistakes) paints Adrian, who “gets the free lunch at school,” speaking excitedly to rapt schoolmates. Adrian is lying, Chloe announces, and she sees that her words have “made Adrian Simcox really sad,” but her resentment persists. Then, while walking their dog, Chloe’s mother steers her toward Adrian’s neighborhood (“All the houses looked like they might fall down”), and the two children meet in Adrian’s garden, where Chloe realizes that, horse or not, Adrian has something rarer: the power of imagination. Newcomer Campbell explores with sensitivity the way Chloe opens her heart to Adrian, but the story’s perspective—privileged child learns to value less-privileged child—may limit readership and group use. Luyken’s delicate drawings add welcome depth, culminating in a final scene that makes magic from a tangle of weeds in Adrian’s yard. Ages 3–5. [em](Aug.) [/em]