The Lying King (Alex Beard)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Lying King by Alex Beard, part political satire and part cautionary tale of what dishonesty can do when unchecked.

In the savanna, there is a king – a warthog who wears an ostentatious pointed crown and speaks in nothing but lies. His fibs are ridiculous: he claims that the rain is dry, that the nighttime is day, that he can fly (he cannot). It all started when he was just a piglet, the runt of the litter, who compensated for his size by lying. As he got older and his dishonesty went without repercussion, the lies got bigger. And when it came time to find a new ruler, the warthog ascended to office on the backs of lying to bully, lying to cause unrest, and or simply lying to make himself look better than he was. Now that he’s on the throne, the lies are only becoming more ludicrous and unsustainable. The Lying King may have broke the final straw… and his subjects are fed up.

So, yeah. I think we can all guess what figure from current events this is a rather cutting (and sadly accurate) parody of. But politics aside, this is a story about dishonesty that stands on its own. While most books about lying serve to teach children why lying is wrong, this is a great way to encourage them to recognize and stand against those who chose to be dishonest anyway. It reminds readers that the truth is not a subjective thing, and in an era in which those in power are all too willing to sow dissent and spread disinformation to stay in power, well… it’s a lesson that needs to be taught. The illustrations are good, featuring semi-realistic animals other than the King, who is exaggerated enough to highlight his antics. The length is good, the rhyming text flows well, and JJ seemed to enjoy it. A necessary lesson in questioning one’s leaders, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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