PORCH LIES by Patricia C. McKissack


Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters
Age Range: 10 - 12
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The author of The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural (1992), illustrated by Brian Pinkney, mines a lighter vein with nine original tales that hark back to yarns from her Tennessee childhood. Opening with reminiscent scene-setters, all feature human “slicksters and tricksters” able to get what they want with charm, like con man Pete Bruce—who scores a generous portion of coconut cream pie from an undeceived cook—or despite bad reputations end up performing some worthy deed, as does chauffeur Lincoln Murphy, who excavates a prematurely buried employer. Other tales feature appearances from Frank and Jesse James, helping to rid sharecroppers of a white predator; from Ralph, king of the ghosts; and from the Devil himself, who makes a young musician the same so-tempting offer once made to bluesman Robert Johnson at a certain crossroads. Capped by blues harmonica player Cake Norris’s two-part odyssey up and down the ladder to Heaven, these tales all lend themselves to telling or reading aloud, and carry the common theme that even the worst rascals have saving graces. (author’s introduction) (Short stories. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-83619-5
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2006


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