FICTION

Simon and the Better Bone

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2023. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063275553.
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K-Gr 2–A great book for introducing even older children to the notion that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Acknowledging the source as Aesop, Tabor introduces Simon, a dog who is happy with his bone until he spots another dog with a better one (his reflection in water). What should he do? How can he get that bone for himself? Simon has some creative attempts, but nothing seems to work until finally he throws caution to the wind and decides to just pounce. Students will be laughing and cheering for poor little Simon and his very real struggle. The heartwarming ending gives students an example of how to be a good friend, even through conflict. The pencil, color pencil, and acrylic paint give the soft illustrations a beautiful light feeling. A favorite image is the last, showing Simon walking home hoping he will see his new friend soon, just as he is getting ready to pass a particular store.
VERDICT This good-natured story will have students and teachers alike laughing at the trials and tribulations of silly Simon, whether they are familiar with the original or not.

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