by Melinda Beatty, published 2018
“A lie is just a wall round the truth. Could be that it’s built strong like a wall, or it could be built out of something that’ll collapse. But no matter what it’s made of, the truth is always going to want to get out.”
Lies and truth, truth and lies. What better time in our history than now to have a fantasy children’s book that revolves around this very important topic. This exceptionally well-crafted book sets us in a mythical time and place, in a mythical kingdom, where the entire kingdom is at risk, because it’s hard to tell who is telling the truth and who is not. Sound familiar?
I can’t say this was written as a political allegory, and it stands beautifully well on it’s own as a lesson in honesty. But I also like exposing pre-teen children to this important subject. I think older children will enjoy it, though I can imagine a mature 11-year-old getting into it as well.
The plot is quite interesting – a young girl has the ability to ‘see’ lies, and gets deathly ill if she tells one. Everyone is vying to capture her for her ‘gift.’
I have to admit I was stunned by the ending. It was totally unexpected. I can’t say if it was good or bad, but it left me not knowing how things would unfold in the future. And as a friend points out, isn’t that life? This is a terrific children’s book, that is very hard to put down. I’d encourage adults to read it along side their kids, and then examine the question of “who do you trust, and why?”