A young girl named Chloe learns that, sometimes, it’s more important to be kind than to be correct.
The book opens to loosely drawn children of various ethnicities casually sitting around a long cafeteria table. Pale-skinned, carrot-topped Adrian Simcox sits far to the right, staring off into space. Text set above him declares: “Adrian Simcox sits all by himself, probably daydreaming again.” The next spread—parents and children waiting for a school bus—shows the white narrator looking irritated as she witnesses Adrian telling “anyone who will listen that he has a horse.” Chloe has used logic to figure out that Adrian is lying, and the text pulls no punches as she rattles off some of the ways she can tell Adrian could never afford to own a horse, including “the free lunch at school” and holes in his shoes. Chloe notices that Adrian looks sad after she finally accuses him to his face of lying, but it is her mother’s ingenious use of showing—not telling—that brings Chloe to a new level of understanding. The tale is poignant and at times slightly humorous as well as frankly didactic. The art is an excellent complement, adding such dimensions as Chloe’s mother fixing a bike; contrasts between Chloe’s and Adrian’s respective school desks and neighborhoods; brushy foliage that repeatedly reveals Adrian’s imaginary horse.
A good conversation starter for use with children who share Chloe’s privilege. (Picture book. 4-7)