Simon B. Rhymin’ by Dwayne Reed

Hi All! It’s Becky. I just finished listening to an eARC of the audiobook Simon B. Rhymin’.  This book had potential but in some ways, I found it frustrating.  

Title: Simon B. Rhymin’
Author: Dwayne Reed
Note: I received an eARC of this audiobook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Simon Barnes is ready to start fifth grade, but he finds himself not ready to be assigned an oral presentation on the first day of school. Simon dreams of being a famous rapper, but he isn’t great when talking in front of a group. Simon knows his parents expect him to do a good job and when he begins to research the homeless problem in his neighbor Simon wants to do a presentation worthy of the important topic. Can Simon ace his report and maybe help his neighbors who need it the most?

Review: I found this book frustrating. Simon B. Rhymin’ is filled with amazing aspects, but the book was not without issues. Simon is a great main character. He is realistic and similar to so many kids I have met, filled with personality and charm. He is a wonderfully developed complex character and I enjoyed how Reed created a middle-grade main character with layers, dreams, and insecurities. I also truly enjoyed Simon’s family. It is always nice to see a functioning family in a book, especially a family with both parents involved in their children’s lives. Reed also did a fine job at introducing the issue of homelessness to young readers. Simon’s experiences volunteering at a shelter and Simon trying to learn about his homeless neighbors helps teach readers about empathy. However, it was also the simpleness of the homeless issue that I had an issue. Reed made the issue very one dimension, in particular, one of Simon’s rhythms which were very problematic. Yet, even with those issues, Simon B. Rhymin’ was an excellent middle-grade book that I am looking forward to recommending.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5

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