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"It's Simple," Said Simon

by Mary Ann Hoberman, Meilo So (Illustrator)
 

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One day, a boy goes out for a walk. He encounters a dog, a cat, and a horse. The dog dares him to growl, the cat dares him to stretch, and the horse dares him to jump. "It's simple," says Simon. Then he meets a tiger, who challenges him to all three dares, with increasing difficulty. Will the boy best the tiger, or the tiger best the boy?

Overview

One day, a boy goes out for a walk. He encounters a dog, a cat, and a horse. The dog dares him to growl, the cat dares him to stretch, and the horse dares him to jump. "It's simple," says Simon. Then he meets a tiger, who challenges him to all three dares, with increasing difficulty. Will the boy best the tiger, or the tiger best the boy?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the tradition of clever heroes who outwit wily animals, this agreeable picture book features an unflappable hero who is anything but simple. When challenged by various animals, Simon can growl like a dog, stretch like a cat and jump like a horse. "It's Simple," says Simon. But when a cunning tiger asks the boy to demonstrate his skills, Simon needs all his wits about him to wriggle out of becoming the big cat's supper. Like the work of Ardizonne or Zemach, So's (Tasty Baby Belly Buttons) watercolor-and-ink illustrations feature loose lines and a strong sense of movement. Unfortunately, the expressiveness of her animal characters is often more appealing than that of Simon himself, whose face sometimes seems inconsistently drawn. Hoberman's (A House Is a House for Me) text borrows devices used by familiar fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters with plenty of repeated phrases and actions. But Simon so effortlessly outmaneuvers the tiger that the outcome doesn't come as a surprise. Nonetheless, So's swirls of color and animated black lines, her deliciously sly tiger and the varied design of the spreads and end papers all provide a sense of energy and excitement. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
As he travels along, Simon meets a dog who wants to hear his best growl, a cat who challenges him to stretch and a horse who urges him to jump. They pronounce his efforts "very good." The tiger proves harder to impress, but Simon tries his best until the tiger also says "very good," and invites him to ride on his back. Soon we realize that the tiger's motives are not entirely without question. Will Simon end up as tiger food? Outwitting him is "simple," according to Simon. The beautiful illustrations are ink and watercolor paintings on rice paper, reminiscent of Japanese brushwork. 2001, Alfred A. Knopf, $17.99 and $15.95. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Dr. Judy Rowen
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Hoberman and So draw on a series of familiar storybook elements to produce this story, tailor-made for telling aloud. It follows a city kid through a busy summer day as he encounters a dog, a cat, a horse, and finally a wily tiger with an appetite. The friendly animals in turn dare Simon to growl like a dog, stretch like a cat, and jump like a horse. The boy manages each activity just fine: "Very good," they applaud. "It's simple," Simon replies. But then he meets a hungry tiger that challenges him to do all three, ultimately coaxing careless Simon into a trap. With the boy uncomfortably astride his back, the tiger trots off into a fantastic jungle on the outskirts of the city. It's there, in a cunning twist on "The Gingerbread Man," that Simon tricks the animal into wading through a river. He swims safely away, leaving the tiger to struggle in the water. Hoberman has lots of fun with her contemporary, suntanned Simon as he plays his topsy-turvy game of "Simple Simon Says." So's unfussy ink-and-watercolor images wriggle playfully to life on speckled Indian rice paper. Great for reading aloud and acting out.-Catherine T. Quattlebaum, DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In sketchy, expressive watercolors, So (Tasty Baby Belly Buttons, 1999, etc.) deftly shifts the scene from city sidewalk to jungle path as a strolling lad takes on more and more difficult challenges from animals met along the way. Simon has no trouble growling like a dog ("It's simple"), stretching like a cat, or even jumping like a horse, but escaping a tiger after he's climbed onto its back isn't quite so easy. So gives the tale an indeterminate Asian locale, with brushwork and figure placement evocative of traditional Chinese art, though boy and beast look at least somewhat Indian. Not that this matters: it's an original tale, written in plain, but rhythmic language that begs to be read aloud, and features a self-confident lad as capable of getting himself out of trouble as into it. Cleverness saves Simon in the end: he tricks the tiger into taking him into a river, and swims away. Readers who never have liked the way the Gingerbread Boy meets his end will be pleased by Simon's escape—easily. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375812019
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/13/2001
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
10.28(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.56(d)
Lexile:
AD120L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Hoberman is the author of And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends and many other children's books.

Meilo So's previous books for Knopf are Tasty Baby Belly Buttons, The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury, and The Beauty of the Beast.

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