The Big Fib

illus. by Tim Hamilton. 32p. (I Like to Read Series). ebook available. Holiday House. Mar. 2014. RTE $14.95. ISBN 9780823429394. LC 2013009705.
PreS-Gr 1—This story tells of a child in a true-to-life situation that leads to a useful lesson. A boy and his dog have a fine day playing with a pile of boxes discarded by a neighbor. "Then we played a train game. We went far, far, far." The boxes next become a race car and then a jet. Finally there's a mess. When Miss Finn, the neighbor, comes out and asks, "Who made this mess?" the nameless narrator tells a fib. "'The wind,' I said." And soon, "My big fib got bigger. 'It was a big wind,' I said." The reader doesn't know if Miss Finn believes the fib, but she does start picking up the boxes. Events unfold with a simplicity and economy that's appropriate for the narrator and the intended audience. Hamilton's comic drawings are suitably spare, too, and add a bit of kooky flavor to the unembellished narrative. Large heads of the three characters deftly convey feelings, and bits of costume are added when games are occurring. Miss Finn's slow work in picking up the boxes prompts the youngster's simple confession. As he helps with the cleanup, he finds that telling the truth brings happy results. Miss Finn's displeasure is quickly resolved, and over milk and cookies, she initiates a final game. "I am queen. You are my knights. And we are friends." The narrator presents a flower to his hostess and says, "You don't have to play that we are friends. That is real." The brief account is sure to evoke smiles and recognition from readers and could prompt class discussion.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
A boy fibs about the mess he made while playing with his elderly neighbor's discarded boxes, and she poignantly enters his fantasy world to understand. This book combines readability and repetition; a multifaceted plot about imaginative play and intergenerational friendship; and a moral about honesty. New readers will enjoy seeing the contrast between reality and imagination in the bold, slightly wacky illustrations.

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