Booklist Reviews

Ages 4^-8. Libby learns that telling the truth is not always as simple as it seems, especially when it hurts. After she's punished for lying to her mother, Libby wounds her friends, classmates, and neighbors by pointing out their weaknesses, mistakes, and embarrassments to everyone, until she realizes that there are times to keep quiet. The story is very much a lesson, but it's a subtle one, and Potter's colorful, naive-style illustrations capture the innocence and eagerness of the "good girl" who learns that telling tales is not the way to be nice, that some things are private. Empathy is the message here, and Libby's scenarios are good starting points for discussion. ((Reviewed December 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Horn Book Guide Reviews

After her mother chastises her for lying, Libby resolves to tell nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, she becomes honest to the point of insulting (a neighbor's garden resembles ""a jungle"") and alienates her community. Only when on the receiving end of a painful truth does Libby comprehend her folly. The pastel watercolor and ink illustrations capture the story's Southern milieu, warmth, and humor. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

McKissack (Ma Dear's Aprons, 1997, etc.) settles on a humorous tale of good intentions gone awry when a girl decides to tell the truth and nothing but. After announcing that Ruthie Mae has a hole in her sock, that Willie hasn't done his homework, that Thomas had to borrow lunch money from the teacher, and that old Miz Tusselbury's garden looks like a jungle, Libby Louise can't figure out why everyone is so offended. Potter places her figures in a sketchy rural setting, giving them extra large faces with plainly writ emotions. Light dawns in the end, and Libby Louise's apologies earn ready forgiveness from all. Even to young children, Libby Louise's honest puzzlement may seem a bit obtuse. This is a tale in which the literal-minded may be too close to the situation to see the humor, but the heroine's heart is in the right place, and she works through her confusion in recognizable, easily followed stages. (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

Library Media Connection

After being caught in a lie, Libby vows to "Tell the truth and shame the Devil," which she learned from her Mama. When she tells the truth, however, Libby embarrasses, hurts, and angers her friends and family. Confused and alone, Libby does not understand how telling the truth can be so wrong. But, when she is told the truth about her beloved old horse, Libby comes to fully understand something else Mama taught her: "Sometimes the truth is told at the wrong time, in the wrong way, or for the wrong reasons. And that can be hurtful." Potter's primitive-style illustrations capture the book's small town setting. Each page is bordered in white, accenting the soft watercolor backgrounds. McKissack's choice of words has once again captured a time period, setting, and characters and made them relative to children. This is a very special book that deals with a difficult concept for young children in terms they can understand. The importance of telling the truth is expressed in the book, but t is tempered with the understanding of the important role that kindness and empathy must also play. Highly Recommended. Susan Raben, Lyon Elementary School, Glenview, Illinois © 2000 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

"Speak the truth and shame the devil," says Libby Louise Sullivan's mother after Libby Louise tells her a fib. Her own shame far outweighs the punishment dealt out by her mother, and Libby Louise vows, "From now on, only the truth." But the girl's strict enforcement of her own rule soon lands her in deep water. She alienates a host of people: her best friend by publicly pointing out a hole in her sock; a classmate by tattling on him; and a neighbor by critiquing her garden. McKissack (Let My People Go) thoroughly examines a common childhood problem discerning when the truth helps and when it hurts with homespun language and accessible situations. The intimate settings so integral to Potter's (Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!) folk-art style provide a fitting complement to the author's cozy community. Her depictions of an alternately astonished and contrite Libby Louise, who winds up feeling the sting of truth herself, will likely cause readers to recall their own chagrin in similar circumstances. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

"McKissack thoroughly examines a common childhood problem-discerning when the truth helps and when it hurts-with homespun language and accessible situations," wrote PW. "The intimate settings so integral to Potter's folk-art style provide a fitting complement to the author's cozy community." Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 3-When Libby Louise's Mama tells her to "Speak the truth and shame the devil," Libby takes the advice too literally, and tells truths wherever she goes. Starting with telling her friend-in public-that there's a hole in her sock, Libby pushes honesty to the hilt both in school and out, about missed homework, embarrassing mistakes and punishments, and messy yards. Her promise to "tell the truth no matter how much it hurt" leaves a trail of wounded feelings and offended people, but Libby doesn't understand the reactions she's getting until her beloved horse is called an "old flea-ridden swayback." The language of the text conveys the flavor of African-American Southern speech patterns, using some colorful similes ("That horse is older than black pepper") but avoiding the use of dialect. The illustrations, in a faux-na f style, are done in soft tones, with browns and greens predominating, evoking the warm feeling of a small country community in which blacks and whites live, go to school, and attend Sunday school together, and everyone knows everyone else. A welcome offering about honesty and consideration.-Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews


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