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[Saturday Reads] The Wild Imagination Of The Hopeful Disadvantaged

... in "Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse" by Marcy Campbell and Corinna Luyken


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Marcy Campbell Foreword by Corinna Luyken
Published by Dial Books (2018)
ISBN: 0735230374 (ISBN13: 9780735230378). Borrowed from Singapore NLB Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Chloe, called Miss SmartyPants by her mother (and not always in an amused manner), is fed up with Adrian Simcox who tells anyone who would listen that he has a horse.

Clearly, he has an overactive imagination as evidenced by his frequent daydreaming, as seen in the image above. But Chloe is annoyed each time Adrian holds court among the credulous younger children that he has a horse with a “white coat and a golden mane.”

Chloe strikes me as someone with an unyielding moral compass, a clear-eyed sense of right and wrong – and she is unafraid to articulate it. She can not abide that Adrian Simcox is clearly uttering an untruth, and no one seems to call him out for it.

It took a short trip to the more disadvantaged side of town, led by Chloe’s mother in the pretext of walking their dog, for Chloe to see beyond lies, half-truths, and the struggling dignity of someone who has nothing but their unbridled imagination to see him through.

This is a book that totally disarmed me. While I have read and enjoyed quite a few picturebooks that deal with poverty and homelessness, this one takes the narrative (and art) to a whole new level of complexity, depth, and nuance. One of my favourite picturebook reads in 2019. Do take the time to check out Fats’ review of this book as well.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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