The Lying King by Alex Beard

The Lying King

Alex Beard, Author and Illustrator

Green Leaf Book Group Press, Fiction, Sep. 4, 2018

Pages: 54

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.

Bumblebee Bike

Bumblebee Bike9781433816468_p0_v1_s260x420Bumblebee Bike

Sandra Levins, Author

Claire Keay, Illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 4-7

Themes: Stealing, Bicycle, Behavior, Guilt, Honesty

Opening: David was impatient. When he saw something he wanted, his teeth clenched. His fists tightened. His heart raced. When he wanted something, he wanted it right away.

Synopsis: David has a secret treasure box in his closet where he keeps the things he borrows from people without asking — like the Superman he snatches from his best friend Payton, the blinking reindeer pin from Aunt Rhonda, and a green rubber ball from his neighbor Charlie. To lessen his guilt, David tells himself that he will give it all back someday. When his prized yellow bicycle is missing he feels sick inside and wonders how someone can take something that belongs to someone else. He remembers the things he’s taken and realizes what he’s done is wrong.  He knows he has to make things right.

Why I like this book: Sandra Levins’ book belongs in every home. Children are unaware of the value of an item until they lose something they cherish. A common conflict among children is the proverbial “I see, I want, and I take,” with no sense of consequence. Levins’ book addresses this common occurrence in a child’s development with simplicity and compassion.  Claire Keay’s illustrations are colorful pastels, full of detail and they compliment the storyline.

Resources: The book is a resource. There is a two-page spread of helpful information, strategies, activities and discussion questions parents can use with their children.

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 Perfect Picture Books.

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie, Pinky Promise: Telling theTruth

As school is about to start, I have selected a couple of books that tackle a common childhood problem, lying.  Children lie so they won’t get into trouble, to impress friends and feel important.   As the following books illustrate, honesty is always best, and sure makes you feel better.  Great books to read to young children.

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie, is written by Laura Rankin and published by Bloomsbury, U.S.A. for children 4-8 years of age.   The watercolor illustrations are lovely.

Ruthie is an adorable little fox, who loves tiny things, especially toys.   Where ever she goes she collects everything teeny, like the bird shell of a hummingbird.  One day at school, when she’s playing on the playground, she finds a very tiny camera.  She is exuberant at first, because it has been her best find ever.  She walks around snapping photos, until Martin says “Hey, that’s my camera!  I dropped it on the playground.”   Ruthie wants the camera so badly that she lies in front of Martin and the teacher, claiming it s hers.  Ruthie feels sick inside from guilt,  can’t concentrate at school, and won’t eat her dinner.    This book has an excellent lesson for children about how awful it can feel to lie, and how good it can feel to tell the truth.

Pinky Promise, written by Vanita Braver, M.D., is a book about telling the truth for children 4- 8 years of age .  It is part of a series called, “Teach Your Children Well.”  It is illustrated by Cary Pillo with colorful and detailed pictures that will captivate kids.

Meet Madison, her favorite bear, Honesty, and her best friend, Emily.   The girls spend the afternoon stringing beads to make necklaces and bracelets.   They show off their designs to Madison’s Mom, who admires their creations.  Madison begs her mother to take a picture, and she agrees — once she has finished a task.   An impatient Madison grabs the camera and it slips from her hands.  Madison’s mother appears and takes the picture.  Nothing happens.  Madison lies to her mother about breaking the camera.   Later, her stomach hurts, she feels awful and she reaches for Honesty to comfort and help her make the right decision.    The author has done an excellent job helping children discern between what is right and wrong, without being preachy.