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29 June 2023 SIMON AND THE BETTER BONE by Corey R. Tabor, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, May 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-06-327555-3


“I see my face on the surface

I look a lot like Narcissus

A dark abyss of an emptiness

Standing on the edge of a drowning blue”

– Indigo Girls, “Hammer and a Nail” (1990)


SIMON AND THE BETTER BONE is crafted like a wall calendar, in that you turn the pages from bottom to top. This is an innovatively logical format for a picture book in which each 2-page spread is divided into upper and lower halves. The upper half of each spread depicts the action. As the tale is set alongside a pond, the lower half of each spread shows the reflection of the respective top half (along with some pond plants and critters).


“Simon was out playing by the pond when he found a bone. If there was a better bone in all the world, Simon hadn’t seen it.

But then he spotted something in the pond. 

It was another bone.

A better bone.

There was another dog holding the bone. But it was a scrawny little dog. 

Certainly no match for Simon.”


Simon is a dog who has caught sight of his own reflection in the water, but thinks it’s another dog.


In a fun tale based on Aesop’s ‘The Dog and His Reflection,’ Simon cycles through various emotions, thoughts, and strategies as he seeks the key to getting the better bone away from the “other” dog. Simon seeks to trade bones; challenges the “other” dog to a staring contest; and finally loses patience and seeks to pounce on him. (SPLASH!) That’s when Simon and the “other” dog each lose their bones. 


Simon subsequently discovers another bone. And in a perfect ending, he drops the bone into the pond for his new friend to enjoy, before scurrying homeward.


I hope I see him again soon. thought Simon.”


Accompanied by mixed media illustrations set on a white background, SIMON AND THE BETTER BONE is a total crack-up and a totally sweet circle time read. Of course, it should be followed by the Mirror, Mirror game, in which kids pair up, face each other, and take turns mirroring the movements of his or her partner.  


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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