word craft


Tom, Babette, & Simon

Tom Babette and Simon

illus. by Alexi Natchev
Simon & Schus­ter, 1995

out of print; look for this book at your favorite library or used bookseller

if you liked this book, try:

Three Tales of Transformation

What’s this book about?

From 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.

Story Behind the Story

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 Recognition

  • Pub­lish­ers Week­ly, starred review


“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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