THE GREATEST LIAR ON EARTH by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Candlewick)
Louis de Rougemont, alias Henri Louis Grin, takes to the stages of turn-of-the-century London to regale audiences with his dramatic exploits abroad wrestling alligators, steering sea turtles, observing octopi and surviving a hail of fish with nary an umbrella. At first, his tales garner him great acclaim even from the Association of the Advancement of Science, but it is not long before the applause turns to heckles and jeers, and de Rougemont, "Master of Beautiful Lies," ultimately exits the stage--and the world--leaving us to wonder about the fine line between fact and fiction. This story was surprisingly poignant, gently told, and inspires the reader to weigh the value of truth against the power of imagination and self-invention. De Rougemont's friendship with his dog Bruno, companion on all his adventures, is an aspect of the story children will enjoy and makes Bruno's owner that much more of a sympathetic character. Endnotes explaining the scientific possibility of some of de Rougement's claims add texture to book, and make it a perfect choice for educators and librarians trying to underscore the topic of credibility. (7 and up)
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