Review Blog

Jul 22 2016

The truth according to Arthur: A funny book about fibbing by Tim Hopgood

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Ill. by David Tazzyman. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408864982
(Ages: 4 - 7) Recommended. Honesty. The Truth is personified and given the physical form of a grey blob in this story, which means that what Arthur does to The Truth can be concretely illustrated. This is a clever visual way to talk to children about lying and truth, as we see Arthur bend, stretch, cover up, disguise, hide and ignore The Truth. Unsurprisingly, no matter what Arthur does, The Truth just keeps following him around, so he faces The Truth, and tells his mum 'I did it'. Arthur and The Truth are then illustrated sitting side by side, best of friends again.
The truth, told in a matter of fact manner, is that Arthur rode his big brother's bike without permission, lost control of it, and damaged the bike and his mum's car. These are issues that will resonate with young children: using something that isn't yours, accidentally damaging something, and not being brave enough to face the truth straight away for fear of the repercussions. Parents and teachers are often telling children that the consequences of not telling the truth are worse than owning up to what you have done, and this is emphasised here. When Arthur tells his mum the truth she is not happy about the damage but is pleased that he has told the truth. The visual aspects of the story are fantastic. Even the stories that Arthur invents to explain the damage are given a visual presence, providing levity and humour.
This will be a useful resource for classrooms and parents for discussing and emphasising the importance of being best friends with The Truth!
Nicole Nelson

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