Thursday, August 16, 2018

Kindness v. Truth

Especially in this age of fake news and truthiness, it is harder than ever to teach a child the value of a white lie, the value of tact which may require at least omission and at most a small fib.

Enter Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse, a picture book relative of the classic The Hundred Dresses.  Just as Wanda Petronski did not own a hundred dresses, Adrian Simcox does not own a horse.  The other children self-righteously call their bluff and learn to regret their unkindness.  While I've always found The Hundred Dresses a little didactic, Adrian Simcox is not.  (Amazingly, it is author Marcy Campbell's debut picture book.)

Chloe's indignation blazes off the page.

Adrian Simcox is a beautiful book in every way - the language, the message, and, of course, the illustrations.  Illustrator Corinna Luyken, of The Book of Mistakes, uses an autumnal palette of golds, oranges, and ochres and purples for Adrian and a darker purple and black palette for Chloe, the narrator who insists on complete and utter honesty.  Of course she learns that kindness is sometimes more important than the literal truth.

Adrian lives with his grandfather, who I'm convinced is Marty, the protagonist of Mop Top by Don Freeman.  That hair!