Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Bookroo6.6 / 7Goodreads4.3 / 5

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse

Written by Marcy Campbell & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers
Prices as of Jan 18

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

Demonstrating the power of imagination and friendship to transcend our circumstances, this story of empathy is sure to become a classic with its poignant illustrations and text.

From the very beginning, Adrian Simcox is set apart from his lavendar and aubergine classmates by his bright orange hair and shirt. Actually two shirts, which careful readers will discover he alternates wearing, although his peers cycle through a far greater assortment of delightfully-detailed and unique clothing. Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse tackles the very complex themes of poverty and judgement in a tender way directed at children (but still absolutely compelling for adults) that prods at the very core of the soul, bound to elicit empathy in all and tears in some. The initially self-righteous Chloe can at first only see the situation through a very narrow lens. She picks up on the elements of poverty visible to children at school—free lunch and holes in Adrian’s shoes—and is so focused on the literal truth that Adrian Simcox cannot possibly own a horse that she misses the broader truth until aided there by a loving guide: her mother. The mother in this story is particularly laudable for the way she doesn’t lecture but provides Chloe the opportunity to see the situation for herself and develop empathy. All the while, the mother demonstrates the appropriate way to treat everyone, regardless of their economic circumstances—as equals. While Campbell’s text conjures up images all by itself with vibrant descriptions such as “even though it wasn’t trash day, it looked like it was,” it is their combination with Luyken’s striking illustrations that make this beyond compare. Luyken’s genius use of negative space and background elements, such as foliage, to create Adrian’s horse throughout the book showcases the very real power of imagination. As the horse becomes increasingly apparent as the book progresses, it suggests the importance of positive energy in feeding imagination. The seeming abruptness of the ending is slightly jarring, but adds to the force of emotion that gives this story its power for change in the hearts and minds of its readers.

What Kind of Book is Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse

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  • Storytelling Illustrations

    The “Storytelling Illustrations” badge is awarded to books with illustrations that exceptionally enrich the story.


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What Has Marcy Campbell Said About This Book

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What Has Corinna Luyken Said About This Book

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Book Details

Publication Date
August 14, 2018
Text Details
Text set in Filosofia
Illustration Details
The art for this book was created using black ink, colored pencils, and watercolor.
Page Count
Word Count
Reading Age
3 - 5 years
Lib. of Congress (LCCN)
WorldCat Number (OCLC)
Lexile® Level
ATOS® Book Level
Accelerated Reader® Points
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