Simon Steps into the Ring
Simon Steps into the Ring
I’m not always the same me. That’s the problem.
Uncle Richard, who has lived with us since Dad left, says it’s
as if I have puppets inside me playing different characters.
It’s like these puppets take turns inside the ring. They dive
headlong into a boxing match before I can stop them.
“Ding! Ding!” It is time to watch the matches between Simon and his emotions in the ring as we watch the replay of his day! “Simon the Fearful” and “Simon the Ashamed” know that he has made some bad plays throughout the day. His emotions getting the best of him resulted in a visit to the principal’s office, an early pick up by his mom, a suspension from school, and other consequences at home.
“Simon the Arrogant”, “Simon the Grumpy” and “Simon the Lazy” are not who Simon wants to be. While “Simon the Perfect Brother”, “Simon the Confident” and “Simon the Joyous” feel good in the ring, the real hero in the ring is “Simon the Good Student”. This is the contestant who Simon likes being.
In the end, Simon learns that, with the help of his inner referee, there is a time and place for each of the Simons. His uncle reminds him that he has already improved on his emotional reactions and that he should be proud of himself for that accomplishment.
Marylène Monette and Marion Arbona have teamed up to bring a lively, expressive, and relatable story to the readers of Simon Steps into the Ring. Their words and illustrations skillfully represent the varying emotions that people can feel on a daily basis.
Monette’s descriptive words depict each of the Simons and his associated behaviours and thoughts. The bold fonts make it clearly visible as to which Simon is stepping up into the ring. Monette’s use of “Ding! Ding!” alerts the reader when it is time for the next match! Simon Steps into the Ring is Monette’s first book! A former teacher and pedagogical counselor, Monette lives in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.
Arbona’s detailed gouache, pencil, and charcoal illustrations and use of red and bright pink highlight the emotions Simon is experiencing. A close-up look at Simon’s rage and clenched raised fists set against a bold, red background set the stage for his fierce emotions. Arbona obtained her diploma in animation at the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. She divides her time between Montreal, Quebec, and Paris, France.
At the end of the book, Monette invites readers to partake in four different activities to help them to get to know themselves better. The activities, some of which were created by Mélanie Filion and Richard Robillard, draw upon the emotions represented throughout Simon Steps into the Ring and help readers make personal connections in their own bodies to the boxers that are stepping into the ring.
Kelsey Sukich is a grade one French-immersion teacher at École Rivière-Rouge in the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Simon Steps into the Ring was an excellent read-aloud book that opened the door to many meaningful discussions and drawings about emotions with her students!