The Greatest Liar on Earth

Overview

Come hear the intriguing real-life tale of a man whose amazing adventure stories sounded too good to be true . . . or were they?

There is not a whisper when Louis de Rougemont steps onto the stage to recount his astonishing experiences on the sea and in lands far away. It is a breathtaking tale of catastrophe and miraculous events. A monster with enormous tentacles! A sea turtle big enough to ride! Fish raining from the sky! Cannibals! But critics say he is an imposter with a ...

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Overview

Come hear the intriguing real-life tale of a man whose amazing adventure stories sounded too good to be true . . . or were they?

There is not a whisper when Louis de Rougemont steps onto the stage to recount his astonishing experiences on the sea and in lands far away. It is a breathtaking tale of catastrophe and miraculous events. A monster with enormous tentacles! A sea turtle big enough to ride! Fish raining from the sky! Cannibals! But critics say he is an imposter with a gift for spinning yarns. Are Louis’s tales true? Or is he the greatest liar on Earth? Bold, whimsical artwork brings to life the tale of an early-twentieth-century man who held audiences rapt while his critics dubbed him a hoaxer of the highest degree. A fun slice of history sure to inspire a lively discussion of truth, fabrication, and the gray areas in-between.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Picture-book biographies frequently feature individuals who have acted commendably; the same can't necessarily be said for Greenwood's unlikely subject. At heart a storyteller, Frenchman Louis de Rougemont devours the accounts of world travelers and explorers, then reworks them to make them his own. On the lecture circuit as "The Most Remarkable Man of the Century," de Rougemont draws big audiences to hear him speak of his adventures, which include surviving on a desert island and wrestling a crocodile. Lessac's naïf gouache illustrations keep pace with de Rougemont's tall tales, picturing the mustachioed fish, winged wombats, and "nuggets of gold too big for one man to carry" that de Rougemont describes with cool confidence. When de Rougemont is exposed as a fraud, he points the finger back at the audience: "Who has not walked in the woods, seen a cat, and called it a wolf?" Despite a slightly abrupt finale, Greenwood's story of a forgotten fabulist gently asks whether the truth is all it's cracked up to be—especially in show biz. Ages 7–up. Illustrator's agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Kim Harris Thacker
The true story of Louis de Rougemont begins by revealing that de Rougemont set out to fool audiences throughout London into believing his fantastic (albeit false) tales of adventure and world travel. It ends with an impoverished de Rougemont declaiming against the people who once believed his stories but who eventually found him out and refused to pay to hear him tell lies. The tone of the entire book seems to be a tribute to de Rougemont, who was, obviously, an accomplished liar. Not only is this inappropriate thematic material for a picture book of this age range, the reader is privy to de Rougemont's plans from the first page, so there is little to draw the reader further into the book—the majority of which is devoted to wild tales of de Rougemont's adventures (which the reader knows are not true). On a positive note, the final two pages of the book do contain interesting information about activities de Rougemont claimed to have participated in (including sea turtle riding) and creatures he claimed to have seen (such as fish that fell from the skies like raindrops). Another favorable feature of this book is the "sources" section, which includes adult nonfiction works about de Rougemont's life, both real and purported. Everything considered, however, readers who are interested in biographies would be better off turning to inspiring works such as Doreen Rappaport's award-winning book, Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Jennifer Berne's Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau. Reviewer: Kim Harris Thacker
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—This picture-book biography merely hints at the amazing claims of Louis de Rougemont, even though he was supposedly shipwrecked, observed groups of flying wombats, and witnessed rainstorms of fish falling from clouds. While background notes tease the audience with a few additional tidbits about these preposterous tales, curious readers will need to search further for details to satisfy any questions that may arise about his life, his fraudulent claims, and that he died in shame. Illustrations created in gouache are colorful and busy, yet flat, adding little to the text. His story is intriguing, but the presentation is unlikely to capture children's interest.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763661557
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Greenwood is a musician and award-winning author of The Donkey of Gallipoli: A True Story of Courage in World War I, among other children’s books. He lives in Australia.

Frané Lessac is the award-winning illustrator of more than thirty children’s books. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives with her husband, Mark Greenwood, in Australia.

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