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More True Lies: 18 Tales for You to Judge

More True Lies: 18 Tales for You to Judge

by George Shannon

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A man is thrown in jail for picking up a rope. A student earns one hundred points on his math and history tests, yet fails both classes. A spider saves a fugitive from a legion of warriors. A farmer buys a cow, a horse, and a donkey, all with a single ear of corn.... Each of the eighteen stories in this book is true, technically. But each is also a lie.



A man is thrown in jail for picking up a rope. A student earns one hundred points on his math and history tests, yet fails both classes. A spider saves a fugitive from a legion of warriors. A farmer buys a cow, a horse, and a donkey, all with a single ear of corn.... Each of the eighteen stories in this book is true, technically. But each is also a lie.

In his second collection of "true lies" from around the world, George Shannon challenges young readers to uncover the whole truth. But be careful: a word with more than one meaning can obscure the facts. And a hidden detail can mean the difference between honesty and a twisted truth that is, in its essence, a lie.

Can you tell the difference?
Can you discover:
"What's the truth,
the whole truth?
And where's the lie?"

Editorial Reviews

See if you can find the truth in these short tales. Teachers will have fun reading them to middle- schoolers to see if they can figure out what the truth really is. The solutions are included. What a lesson is in store! 2001, Greenwillow Books, $14.95. Ages 10 to 12. Reviewer: M. Thomas SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
Children's Literature
As in True Lies: 18 Tales for You to Judge, Shannon has collected short folktales from around the world and presented them as stories with a hidden detail or one fact omitted or ignored. The reader is asked to ascertain what really happened and is rewarded by a turn of the page to confirm predictions. Some readers will recognize the themes or motifs in these tales, such as the obliging spider weaving a web over the cave opening, which convinces pursuers that their quarry couldn't possibly be hiding within. This, says Shannon in his source notes, is taken here from a Muslim tale but can also be found as a Jewish variant involving King David, and in other stories from Japan, Africa, Lapland and India. O'Brien's black line, cartoonish illustrations complement the tales without overwhelming them. They tell perfectly to groups of children in story hours, around the campfire or in family settings and would make fine small playlets for those seeking quick drama scripts. 2001, Greenwillow, $14.95 and $14.89. Ages 8 to 14. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Using the same format found in True Lies (Greenwillow, 1997), Shannon presents 18 brief tales drawn from world folklore in which the protagonists obscure the truth by clever manipulations or omissions. In a tale from Trinidad, a man being hauled off to jail in chains insists he only picked up a rope he found on the ground, neglecting to mention that the rope was attached to a cow. In a tale from the Middle East, the aged Mulla Nasrudin applies for a job as gardener, insisting he is as strong as he was 20 years ago, a misleading statement as even then he had been a weakling. For each selection, readers are given an opportunity to untangle the word puzzle before the author presents the solution in a section called "The Whole Truth." The combination of brevity, humor, and accessible language should attract reluctant readers, and teachers could use the book to inspire creative-writing exercises and as a discussion starter for how language can be both used and abused. O'Brien's pen-and-ink illustrations are a whimsical complement to the tales, and Shannon supplies exhaustive source notes for each story.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Shannon follows up True Lies (1997) with more retold anecdotes, drawn from a variety of folk traditions, in which words say more, or less, than they seem to. " ‘I got a hundred on my math and history tests!' " exclaims one child (in other words, two 50s); another insists that she didn't touch one cookie (though she did touch, and eat, every other one in the jar); a man being led off to jail elicits outrage by claiming that he was arrested just for picking up a rope, somehow neglecting to mention that there was a cow attached to it, and so forth. O'Brien (The Farmer in the Dell, 2000, etc.) adds whimsy with button-eyed figures in diverse dress and settings; Shannon provides explanations on the page following each mini-tale, and appends notes on sources and variants. Here's grist for storytellers and smooth talkers of any age. (Folktales. 8-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
True Lies , #2
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Secret Love

Traditionally, young Arab women were expected to keep their faces hidden behind a veil and to have no boyfriends before they married.

It happened, however, that one young woman had a secret boyfriend. When her parents became suspicious, they decided to take her to the Hill of Truth. At the top of the hill a chain hung down from the sky. Anyone who lied as he or she held the chain would be turned to ashes.

"Tomorrow we will hire donkeys," announced her father. "You, your mother, and I will visit the hill. If you've been meeting a secret boyfriend, you won't be able to lie any longer!"

The father was pleased to find a stable that charged a very low price for its donkeys and even included a servant to ride along and tend the donkeys.

The four travelers had just reached the base of the hill when the young woman slipped and fell off her donkey. As she fell, her veil got caught on the saddle, exposing her face. Even though the servant quickly helped her back up, she wept with embarrassment.

When they reached the hilltop, the father told her to grab the chain and demanded to know if she had a secret boyfriend.

"You, dear father, and the servant who helped me today when I fell are the only men who have seen my face or touched me."

The chain of truth left the young woman alive because she was telling the truth as well as a lie.

What's the truth, the whole truth?And where's the lie?

The Whole Truth

Knowing her father was thrifty, she had told her boyfriend to rent him his donkeys at a very low price and to offer to ride with them. She had fallen on purpose so he would have to touch heras he helped her up.

Meet the Author

George Shannon is a popular storyteller and former children's librarian whose many notable picture books include Tomorrow's Alphabet, Lizard's Guest, and White Is for Blueberry. Tippy-Toe Chick, Go!, illustrated by Laura Dronzek, was named a Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor Book. George Shannon lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

John O'Brien has illustrated over 60 books for children, most recently I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara S. Garriel and The Beach Patrol, which he wrote with Max Bilkins. He lives in Delron, New Jersey, and Miami, Florida.

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