cover image The Honest-To-Goodness Truth

The Honest-To-Goodness Truth

Patricia C. McKissack, Pat McKissack. Atheneum Books, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82668-9

""Speak the truth and shame the devil,"" says Libby Louise Sullivan's mother after Libby Louise tells her a fib. Her own shame far outweighs the punishment dealt out by her mother, and Libby Louise vows, ""From now on, only the truth."" But the girl's strict enforcement of her own rule soon lands her in deep water. She alienates a host of people: her best friend by publicly pointing out a hole in her sock; a classmate by tattling on him; and a neighbor by critiquing her garden. McKissack (Let My People Go) thoroughly examines a common childhood problem--discerning when the truth helps and when it hurts--with homespun language and accessible situations. The intimate settings so integral to Potter's (Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!) folk-art style provide a fitting complement to the author's cozy community. Her depictions of an alternately astonished and contrite Libby Louise, who winds up feeling the sting of truth herself, will likely cause readers to recall their own chagrin in similar circumstances. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)