Inside Out: A Modern Fable by Frederick Alimonti – Review
by Frederick Alimonti
Reading Level: Ages 8 and up
Perfect Paperback: 36 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (October 2, 2012)
What to expect: Emotions, Friendship, Self-acceptance
Frederick Alimonti has penned an emotional tale of personal transformation. Beauty is only skin deep for his heroine Sally Simpson.
Told in rhyming verse, the story unfolds as Sally—a vapid wealthy girl solely concerned with outward appearances—bullies a shy fellow student named Jessie Smith. Jessie represents the flipside of Sally with her dutiful care of her younger brother Joe and much less fortunate circumstances. She doesn’t have the time or resources to be concerned with being cool or beautiful. On the bus ride to school, Sally openly mocks Jessie’s hair and clothing. While in class, she enjoys humiliating Jessie by knocking her books to the floor. Jessie suffers these attacks in silence, too proud to give Sally the satisfaction of seeing her cry.
Sally is in for a rude awakening when she’s greeted by a hideous visage resembling a furry monster in the mirror. Not only her appearance, but her bus, elite circle of friends, and her school have been twisted into a horrifying, unrecognizable vision. Her teacher Ms. Jones informs her, “Your appearance here comes not from your skin but from the depth of the character you carry within.” When Sally sees Jessie riding like a glorious queen in a horse-drawn carriage, Ms. Jones further explains, “It’s in our hearts and our deeds that our true beauty lies. All you wear on the outside is just a disguise.” After Sally awakens from her nightmare, she is relieved to have returned to her former self and on the bus she asks Jessie to sit beside her. Sally finally learns to love someone other than her face in the mirror. Alimonti offers a comforting message to socially awkward children, but a stern one to those who are cruel.
Young readers will conclude from the moral of the story that beauty is superficial and friendship is everlasting. Inside Out is an excellent choice for parents who would like to discuss these very worthy topics with their children.
Add this book to your collection: Inside Out
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