1. Bibliographic data
McKissack, Patricia C. Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters. Illustrated by Andre Carrilho. Schwartz & Wade Books, New York, 2006.
2. Brief plot summary
Porch Lies is a collection of short stories that all center around morally questionable characters. The author has taken stories she heard growing up on her grandparents’ front porch and wrote tales that had many of the same characteristics that she enjoyed.
3. Critical analysis
One of the great things about Porch Lies is that no story is exactly alike. Each story is set up with a back story, and each has a character that is so unbelievable they are believable. The stories each have a character who has to make a decision about what is right and what they want, and yet there is so much humor mixed in that even if they make the wrong choice you are rooting for them. Add in a sprinkle of illustrations by Andre Carrilho in which the characters are comically ill-proportioned with realistic facial expression, and you have story collection that students and families are going to enjoy reading aloud.
4. Review excerpts:
a. School Library Journal- “These 10 literate stories make for great leisure listening and knowing chuckles.”
b. Book List- “Great for sharing, on the porch and in the classroom.”
a. Related Books: The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McKissack
b. Classroom Activities: This is the type of story collection that I would read in order to teach Voice in a language arts class. After reading a few of the stories, I would have the students try and write a similar story that could possibly be passed down through their family with focus on bringing themselves out in it.