Porch Lies

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Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and other Wily Characters Hardcover – August 22, 2006
by Patricia McKissack (Author), Andre Carrilho (Illustrator)


Side-splittingly funny, spine-chillingly spooky, this companion to a Newbery Honor–winning anthology The Dark Thirty is filled with bad characters who know exactly how to charm.

From the author's note that takes us back to McKissack's own childhood when she would listen to stories told on her front porch... to the captivating introductions to each tale, in which the storyteller introduces himself and sets the stage for what follows... to the ten entertaining tales themselves, here is a worthy successor to McKissack's The Dark Thirty. In "The Best Lie Ever Told," meet Dooley Hunter, a trickster who spins an enormous whopper at the State Liar's contest. In "Aunt Gran and the Outlaws," watch a little old lady slickster outsmart Frank and Jesse James. And in "Cake Norris Lives On," come face to face with a man some folks believe may have died up to twenty-seven different times!


Editorial Reviews


From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–These 10 literate stories make for great leisure listening and knowing chuckles. Pete Bruce flatters a baker out of a coconut cream pie and a quart of milk; Mingo may or may not have anything smaller than a 100-dollar bill to pay his bills; Frank and Jesse James, or the Howard boys, help an old woman against the KKK-ish Knights of the White Gardenia; and Cake Norris wakes up dead one day–again. Carrilhos eerie black-and-white illustrations, dramatically off-balance, lit by moonlight, and elongated like nightmares, are well-matched with the stories. The tales are variously narrated by boys and girls, even though the authors preface seems to set readers up for a single, female narrator in the persona of McKissack herself. They contain the essence of truth but are fiction from beginning to end, an amalgam of old stories, characters, jokes, setups, and motifs. As such, they have no provenance. Still, it would have helped readers unfamiliar with African-American history to have an authors note helping separate the truth of these lies that allude to Depression-era African-American and Southern traditions. That aside, theyre great fun to read aloud and the tricksters, sharpies, slicksters, and outlaws wink knowingly at the child narrators, and at us foolish humans.–Susan Hepler, formerly at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 3-5. Like McKissack's award-winning The Dark Thirty (1992), the nine original tales in this uproarious collection draw on African American oral tradition and blend history and legend with sly humor, creepy horror, villainous characters, and wild farce. McKissack based the stories on those she heard as a child while sitting on her grandparents' porch; now she is passing them on to her grandchildren. Without using dialect, her intimate folk idiom celebrates the storytelling among friends, neighbors, and family as much as the stories themselves. "Some folk believe the story; some don't. You decide for yourself." Is the weaselly gravedigger going to steal a corpse's jewelry, or does he know the woman is really still alive? Can bespectacled Aunt Gran outwit the notorious outlaw Jesse James? In black and white, Carrilho's full-page illustrations--part cartoon, part portrait in silhouette--combine realistic characters with scary monsters. History is always in the background (runaway slaves, segregation cruelty, white-robed Klansmen), and in surprising twists and turns that are true to trickster tradition, the weak and exploited beat powerful oppressors with the best lies ever told. Great for sharing, on the porch and in the classroom. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved



Booklist starred review
Horn Book Magazine starred review
Publishers Weekly starred review


About the Author

Patricia C. McKissack is one of the most acclaimed authors writing for children today. She has written many award-winning books, including Never Forgotten, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book; Porch Lies, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book; The Dark Thirty, a Newbery Honor Book; Let My People Go, recipient of the NAACP Image Award; and Mirandy and Brother Wind, a Caldecott Honor Book. Her other books include The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll, Goin' Someplace Special, and Precious and the Boo Hag. Patricia and her husband, Frederick McKissack, are the recipients of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Andre Carrilho is a designer, cartoonist, caricature artist, and illustrator. His illustrations have appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewHarper's, and Vanity Fair, among others. He is also the illustrator of the picture book You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter. Andre Carrilho lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

Product details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; 1st Edition edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836190
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds 
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