(review copy from the publisher)
Genre: Realistic fiction (Did not plan my 48 Hour Book Challenge to end up as a "realistic fiction" marathon.)
I am so fond of these relatively short but utterly readable little books Paulsen has been writing recently. They are full of humor and story that resonates with readers 4th grade and up. With page counts between 100-120 pages, they are not intimidating to readers who eye a book for its thickness or thinness.
Oh what a tangled web we weave,Kevin knows the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie. He just finds that lies are easier on everyone. He has rules for telling lies but even his experience and talent cannot keep him from becoming hopelessly entangled in the multiple threads he is working. There is trouble on his home front too when his father's business travel begins to interfere with their family's life. He realizes his duplicity may have hurt his parent's relationship too.
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17
Kevin realizes the value of truth telling in a poignant moment with the little boy he babysits. He comes clean with a clear-eyed maturity that is a wondrous thing to behold. As he writes letters of apology to all the people he has lied to and accepts the consequences that befall him, life gets better.
Earlier this week I finished Paulsen's Masters of Disaster (Wendy Lamb, 2010, 112 pages) which made me laugh out loud. Henry is the brains who embroils his friends, Riley and Reed in quests to set records and prove their bravery in the hopes of impressing girls. Reed bears the brunt of the danger and damage in these exploits. Amazingly, no one is seriously hurt but Reed does accumulate a horrible odor as the book goes on. Henry and Riley reflect:
"It's like he has a gift, " Henry said to Riley as they flipped on their flashlights and made their way down the tunnel toward Reed's voice. "No matter where we go or what we do, he's like a compass pointing north when it comes to locating smelly goo."
"Extraordinary," Riley agreed. "You work so hard to come up with adventures and somehow it always come down to Reed in a pile of poop."
Time reading: 1 hour, 120 pages.