The Lying King
Alex Beard, Author and Illustrator
Green Leaf Book Group Press, Fiction, Sep. 4, 2018
Suitable for Ages: 4 -9 (and adults)
Themes: Animals, Lying, Bullying, Stealing, Integrity, Honesty
Opening: There once was a king who liked to tell lies. He said it was day beneath the night skies.
There was a warthog who wanted to be king. He lied to feel big “a runt who wanted to be a huge pig.” His lies were small in the beginning. When it rained outside, he said it was dry. But his lies became tall tales. He was so full of himself that he said he was great at whatever he did. And he bullied others to make himself feel good.
Even though the other animals saw through his outrageous behavior, they remained silent and did nothing to stop the warthog from becoming king. Once in power, the king stole to pad his purse and called the most honest, cheaters. He turned his loyal subjects against one another until they didn’t know who they could trust. The king’s lies were so bold that they got out of hand, and no one believed a word the king said. Will animals stand up to him? Will the truth catch up with the king?
Why I like this book:
Beard’s contemporary tale is clever and entertaining and has lessons for everyone about integrity and being truthful, trustworthy and fair. For children, this is a timeless tale about how unacceptable it is to lie and what happens when lying gets out of control. It is a perfect book that will teach children the importance telling the truth and knowing when they are being lied to. For adults, it carries a socially relevant and important message for our times.
I LOVE the lively and whimsical watercolor illustrations in this story. They are appealing and humorous and will communicate the author’s message loud and clear. His use of white space makes the art stand out. I also like that the text is beautifully handwritten.
Resources: Use this book as a resource. Ask children why they think the warthog lied? Why didn’t the other animals call out the warthog? Why didn’t anyone stop the warthog when he bullied other animals? What did they learn about the importance of telling the truth? Play an honesty game with children where you create scenarios where they have to say what they would do.
Alex Beard is an artist and author. A NYC native, he lives in New Orleans’ Garden District in The Pink Elephant with his wife and two children, two dogs, a cat, three turtles, a hedgehog, and a pair of finches. Visit the author at his website.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by Kathleen Carter Communications.