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Tom, Babette & Simon
illus. by Alexi Natchev
Simon & Schuster, 1995
out of print; look for this book at your favorite library
Tom, Babette & Simon: Three Tales of Transformation

From two-time Newbery Honor Book author, Avi, three humorous, thought-provoking, and poignant tales of metamorphosis that explore physical and spiritual change. Natchev's striking black-and-white illustrations enhance the spell cast by Avi's stories.

Tom is bored all the time. When he's given a homework assignment to write The Most Exciting Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Tom realizes that not one exciting thing has happened to him in his entire life. Then Tom makes a deal to trade places with a cat named Charley, and something very exciting happens. But Tom may never have the chance to write about his outrageous adventure.

Babette's mother, the queen, wishes for a perfect baby daughter, and her wish is granted. No one can see a single flaw in the child's appearance. In fact, no one can see Babette at all. But when Babette finds out that she's invisible, how will she see herself?

Simon is an only child whose doting parents grant his every wish—until Simon's demands grow so big his parents have nothing left to give him. So Simon leaves home, determined to make his own greatest wish come true. He wants the whole world to admire him, and after a startling meeting with a magical bird, he has all the attention he dreamed of … but now he only wishes to be free of it once again.

Behind the Book

Avi writes: These stories were not written as a group, but rather at different times over the years. One of the stories was written years ago when I was reading fairy tales to my own boys.

Fairy tales are a very ancient form of literature. I think they are less about magic then they are about dreams and ways we wish things would happen.

They are hard to write, but wonderful fun when one gets them right. And who knows, they might—just—happen.

Awards and Honors

Publishers Weekly, 1995, starred review

Reviews

“Already noted for his diversity, Avi tries his hand at yet another literary genre, masterfully composing three fairy tales. As sharply ironic and full of wit as his previous works, the stories here offer fresh variations of timeless themes.”(Publishers Weekly, starred review)

 
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