The Honest-to-Goodness Truth (2000),written by Patricia McKissack and illustrated by Giselle Potter, was a hoot. It really made me laugh. I read this to my class a couple of weeks ago. As I said in one of my earlier posts, I love to introduce my students to literature that serves more than one purpose. This book definitely does that. It served to help the students know when to tell the truth, and to do it in a nice way.
The story begins with the main character, Libby telling a fib to her mama about feeding and watering Ol’ Boss.
“Libby Louise Sullivan, I’ll ask you once more and again: Did you feed and water Ol’ Boss.”
“I was gon’ do it soon as I got back from jumping rope with Ruthie Mae.”
She felt a lot better about telling the truth even though she got double punished. For not tending to Ol’ Boss, she couldn’t go play with Ruthie Mae; and for lying, she had to stay on the porch for the rest of the day.
It was her first and last time lying to her mama. From then on she decided that she was going to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. She started it on Sunday morning while everybody was admiring Ruthie Mae’s new dress and matching hat.
“Morning, everybody. Morning, Ruthie Mae. I like your outfit. It’s real pretty…but you’ve got a hole in your sock.”
All eyes went from the hat to the dress to the hole. Libby skipped ahead without ever noticing the hurt on her best friend’s face. After church Libby didn’t understand when Ruthie Mae wouldn’t walk home with her.
However, Libby’s truth telling didn’t stop there. She ratted Willie out to Miz Jackson when he didn’t do his homework. She reminded everybody how Daisy had forgotten her Christmas speech and cried in front of all the parents, and she told how Charlestta had gotten a spanking for stealing peaches off Miz Stacey’s tree.
She told so many truths that no one wanted to talk to her or play with her by the end of the day. But it didn’t end there. As she walked home she encountered Miz Tusselbury, who asked her if she liked her garden. Normally she would have told her that it looked nice. However, Miz Tusselbury told her that she should always tell the truth. So, she did. What do you think happened after that?
Well, I guess you’re just going to have to read the book to find out. As with all the books that I review, this book is a keeper. It will help you if you have a child or know of someone who has a habit of telling the truth, regardless if it hurts someone’s feelings or not.
Pick it up at your local library or local bookstore.