A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kate Beasley's Lions & Liars, with lively illustrations by Dan Santat, is a fun, harrowing, wildly unlikely string of events that drops a bullied, worried Southern 10-year-old at a weekend camp for delinquents in a case of mistaken identity that gives him a chance to reinvent himself. Break-ins, burglaries, and escape plans ensue, as do "atomic dodgeball," gross-outs aplenty, and poop and butt humor. Amid young Frederick's constant worries and frequent missteps, he also learns a lot about teamwork, friendship, and appreciation for everyone's talents. Along the way, there's an alligator. Also a lion. And a hurricane.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
LIONS & LIARS is the tale of bullied 10-year-old Frederick Frederickson, who, in the social jungle of fifth grade, is not the king of beasts, to put it mildly. In fact, he's the flea on a meerkat's butt, or so his friends tell him. Frederick is counting the hours until his family's Caribbean cruise takes him away from all this and plies him with (nonalcoholic) strawberry daiquiris and chocolate fountains. But then comes Hurricane Hernando, and the trip's off. A series of mishaps involving a boat, a birthday party, and an alligator drops Frederick on the shores of a camp for delinquent boys, where he's mistaken for a hardened miscreant named Dashiell and decides he might like this new identity better. But it doesn't look like they'll be sitting around the campfire having s'mores.
Is it any good?
Kate Beasley's lively writing and Dan Santat's funny illustrations make for a chaotic tale of social anxiety, mistaken identity, juvenile delinquency, hurricane survival, and character development. Frederick is a wimpy, relatable (and relatably annoying) 10-year-old who wishes things would go his way just once -- and finds himself with an unlikely set of friends, unlikelier triumphs, and a whole new set of problems.
"He had heard the beginnings of a whine in his voice. Ten-year-olds did not whine. He took a deep breath and explained, in a calm voice, 'I've just been looking forward to this vacation for a really, really, really, really, really long time,' he said. 'It's been a bad day. A bad, bad day, and I need to go on vacation.' He folded his hands together prayerfully. 'I need a daiquiri in the worst kind of way.'
"'You and me both, kiddo,' his mom said."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories of mistaken identity, like Liars & Lions, where people suddenly get an unexpected chance to "be" someone else. What stories like this do you know? How do they turn out?
Have you ever met someone you thought was mean and scary, only to find out there was a lot more to them after you got to know each other? What happened?
In Lions & Liars, Frederick faces quite a few new challenges, like the rope-climbing relay when he's never climbed a rope in his life. Have you ever had to just do something, whether you were any good at it or not? What happened? How did it turn out?
- Author: Kate Beasley
- Illustrator: Dan Santat
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: June 5, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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