Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire




By Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Joann Adinolfi


Published by: Scholastic; Reprint edition (January 1, 1999)

Available in: paperback, library binding

This is a standalone book and not part of a series.


Check it out.

That’s the often-used phrase of the young protagonist in Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire. The strong attitude is both a nice touch and sometimes a tad out of place. I first wondered just how old this kid was, thinking middle school was possible. When I realized third grade, it both made sense and seemed just slightly off.

But the general plot—that of a child who lies constantly to make herself feel more important—is a very third grade moment. I loved how the act of lying was shown in all its ugly glory: born out of frustration, impulse, fear and lack of confidence. And then the hard fall into consequences: people not believing anything she says, punishment, disappointment and the final reality that lying, far from helping our young friend, really hurts her chances at friendship and respect.

So even though the action and story are closer to mediocre than brilliant, this is a worthy read.

The illustrations, meanwhile, absolutely pop. With a joyful skew toward flat, sideways perspective, these black and white sketches have a curlicue ambiance that is funny, light and shaded with just enough depth to bring weight. I love these illustrations.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….

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