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Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and other Wily Characters Hardcover – August 22, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; First Edition edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836190
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–These 10 literate stories make for great leisure listening and knowing chuckles. Pete Bruce flatters a baker out of a coconut cream pie and a quart of milk; Mingo may or may not have anything smaller than a 100-dollar bill to pay his bills; Frank and Jesse James, or the Howard boys, help an old woman against the KKK-ish Knights of the White Gardenia; and Cake Norris wakes up dead one day–again. Carrilhos eerie black-and-white illustrations, dramatically off-balance, lit by moonlight, and elongated like nightmares, are well-matched with the stories. The tales are variously narrated by boys and girls, even though the authors preface seems to set readers up for a single, female narrator in the persona of McKissack herself. They contain the essence of truth but are fiction from beginning to end, an amalgam of old stories, characters, jokes, setups, and motifs. As such, they have no provenance. Still, it would have helped readers unfamiliar with African-American history to have an authors note helping separate the truth of these lies that allude to Depression-era African-American and Southern traditions. That aside, theyre great fun to read aloud and the tricksters, sharpies, slicksters, and outlaws wink knowingly at the child narrators, and at us foolish humans.–Susan Hepler, formerly at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 3-5. Like McKissack's award-winning The Dark Thirty (1992), the nine original tales in this uproarious collection draw on African American oral tradition and blend history and legend with sly humor, creepy horror, villainous characters, and wild farce. McKissack based the stories on those she heard as a child while sitting on her grandparents' porch; now she is passing them on to her grandchildren. Without using dialect, her intimate folk idiom celebrates the storytelling among friends, neighbors, and family as much as the stories themselves. "Some folk believe the story; some don't. You decide for yourself." Is the weaselly gravedigger going to steal a corpse's jewelry, or does he know the woman is really still alive? Can bespectacled Aunt Gran outwit the notorious outlaw Jesse James? In black and white, Carrilho's full-page illustrations--part cartoon, part portrait in silhouette--combine realistic characters with scary monsters. History is always in the background (runaway slaves, segregation cruelty, white-robed Klansmen), and in surprising twists and turns that are true to trickster tradition, the weak and exploited beat powerful oppressors with the best lies ever told. Great for sharing, on the porch and in the classroom. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
It is well written and illustrated.
john p fisher
A great collection of colorful and rich story telling that reflect the historical tradition of African folk tales and legends.
Roxanne V. Forster
They reminded me of the stories my family used to tell after Sunday dinners at my great grandma's house.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda Austin on December 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This was my introduction to Patricia McKissack. Had the great pleasure of hearing her read "Change" at a local book festival. I truly enjoyed reading this book to my fourth-grade daughter, trying to duplicate Ms. McKissack's African-American southern drawl. I felt that these very clever and fun stories would be best as read-alouds for elementary-school kids; due to the colloquialism and the tall-tale nature, an adult reader would be better able to give full color and understanding to these outstanding concoctions. Despite being an excellent reader, my child would not read this herself, and instead looked forward each night to having me dramatize the next story. Would be excellent for classroom readings.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
On an eight by ten sheet of paper, please explain the distinction between slicksters, tricksters and wily characters using examples of each kind to support your conjectures. You have (looks at the clock) five minutes. Go.

That, if you were a teacher of diabolical means and methods, would be one way of collecting a list of ne'er do wells for your own personal collection. To be frank, though, I wouldn't recommend it. You'd have far more luck if you happened to find yourself in the presence of Patricia McKissack's remarkable, "Porch Lies" and had the wherewithal to snatch it up right quick. Ms. McKissack has always been consistently good, consistently interesting, and blessed with an ear for African-American storytelling and vernacular. Rejoice then when I tell you that her latest venture is a pip. Wonderful to read, both to oneself and aloud to an audience, these are tales that demand to be heard. Hear them then and be content, cause you'll seldom find the like again.

To hear Ms. McKissack tell it, the place to be when she was a child of Nashville, Tennessee was not in the playgrounds or movie theaters of the city but on the porch of 3706 Centennnial. There, Patricia would spend her happy days listening as her grandparents, their friends, and some acquaintances reminisced about some "true" characters they had known in their day. Culling together all the best slickster-trickster tales she knew, McKissack recounts these characters after having processed them from her grandfather's "models" into 9 (or 10, depending on how you count) wholly new and original porch lies. Each story in this book is preceded by a small reminiscence of the person who was telling that tale and how they'd think to tell it in the first place. Then the real fun starts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bella Media Services LLC on March 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Acclaimed children's author and Newberry Honnor-winner Patricia McKissack offers a new take on African American oral tradition. Blending history, legend, myth and memory, she has spun 10 wonderful "porch lies," or stories, which are sure to charm adults and children alike. Accompanied by cartoonish, even ghoulish drawings, McKissack's prose paints vivid word pictures of slick and sharp-tongued characters who overcome evil and oppressors. Destined to become a classic.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Parents and teachers interested in read-alouds will find PORCH LIES: TALES OF SLICKSTERS, TRICKSTERS AND OTHER WILY CHARACTERS to be top-notch. Andre Carrilho provides appealing black and white drawings to spice a series of fun stories revolving around exaggeration and humor, from a little old lady who outwits Jesse James to a professional liar. Any building a strong African American collection should have PORCH LIES.
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