A colorful fable about facts and fake news.
Winter and Oswald try to take on the current scourge of fake news, presenting the titular “sad little fact” as a circular blue splotch with skinny limbs and bewildered eyes. “No one took the fact seriously,” intones the text as various multicolored shapes ignore the fact. The Authorities, tall, menacing, and depicted in black from the waist down, “demanded that the sad little fact admit that it was not a fact.” The fact is buried underground with its peers even as “a bunch of lies created by the Authorities were taking over the world outside the box.” Only “a hardy band of fact finders,” depicted with miners’ hats and shovels, fights back, digging into the earth and letting the facts (“The Earth revolves around the sun!” “And people are causing the Earth to get warmer!”) out into the light. The facts themselves are cute, but this doesn’t quite work as a parable or as a picture book. The story jerks around confusingly with unpolished prose. Constant repetition of the word “fact” puts readers at risk of lexical satiation. Propaganda and manipulation of the truth are ancient problems, but this story feels like a dashed-off response to current events rather than a deeply considered philosophy; the underlying message is likely to fly over the heads of young readers while being too simplistic for older audiences.
Aimed at adults rather than children. (Picture book. 4-7)